NEWS RELEASE:

Again, the Company Personnel Harms the Orang Rimba

Beconteng (23), the Orang Rimba from the Tumenggung Meladang group members is still lying weak in black plastic roofed huts called as sesudongon by the locals. The Orang Rimba settlement is located on a rubber plantation belong to the Jernih Village community, Air Hitam, Sarolangun District. The bruises on his face were still clearly visible and the blood clots around his nose still left scars. He coughed occasionally while blood and saliva were found at the same time.

Beconteng quietly tells the sad story he had experienced. His injuries were the result of violence and abusive treatment from the personnel of Agro Wiyana (JAW), a subsidiary of the Sinar Mas Plantation located not far from Sesudungon where he lived. The unfortunate incident occurred on Saturday (29/9). That day, Beconteng and Serah, Mbuda 'and Besilo rode motorbikes going hunting with two rifled weapons. Orang Rimba is accustomed to passing this road, because this area is their roaming space to search for prey animals long before the area turns into an oil palm plantation.

Beconteng wanted to urinate when he was passing by the first post of concession of PT JAW at 10 o’clock. He then stopped the motorcycle, and slipped behind the palm tree to relieve his feeling. Unexpectedly, as soon as he had finished urinating, two company security guards came. They accused Beconteng for collecting the fallen palm fruits. It was indeed, there was a sack of palm fruits they have collected along the roadside. Yet, it is not him who collected the fruits. The security personnel keep accusing Beconteng for the fallen fruits he took although Beconteng said he was not. The personnel immediately seized the slipped tucked in the back of Beconteng while the young man kept trying to defend his weapon, as if a tug of war occurred. Unfortunately, he fell down when the shoe belongs to the personnel hit his stomach. Beconteng tumbled and his kecepek homemade rifles turned onto personnel’s hands while hitting him hard on his face and head. Beconteng did not remember how many times the weapon hit his head, the only thing he could remember clearly was being unconscious.

When the chaos and fuss occurred, three of his friends were frightened and ran away. They could not help Beconteng who was being beaten by the security guard. Unfortunately, the company's security personnel also fled away bringing the kecepek homemade riffles and let him lay on the ground as soon as they saw Beconteng lose his consciousness.

Serah, Mbuda 'and Besilo returned to the place where Beconteng was tortured ensuring that no more personnel over there. They found Beconteng lay down and immediately took him to Pematang Kabau Puskesmas, Sarolangun.  After getting some treatment, Beconteng was taken to Jenang Jalal's house to ask for protection. Several representatives of the company came to Jenang’s house bringing Beconteng to the hospital in Sarolangun District. The doctor then treated and give him some medicines to heal the injuries.

Bpak Nakan, Beconteng's father-in-law demanded that PT. JAW should be responsible for the harsh towards his son-in-law. For the Orang Rimba, every action or behavior resulted injuries or harm to others is known as denda pampai where they should be fined to cure the injury as well as recovery of the dignity of the person who has been harmed.

In line with this issue, the anthropologist of Indonesian Conservation Community WARSI, Robert Aritonang really regretted the violence re-experienced by the Orang Rimba. "This issue further extends the list of violence experienced by the Orang Rimba from companies around them," Robert said.

According to him, this case happened again because the conflict resolution of the issue of the Orang Rimba does not reach out the ground. The resolution took was too pragmatic by getting fined only which converted into amount of money today. Apparently, the real problem of the Orang Rimba is no attempt to recognize their rights and identity as part of the citizenship,” Robert said.

Robert explained that the Orang Rimba’s issue is the recognition of rights and living space to fulfill their needs. As long as the Orang Rimba is still collecting forest products and hunting the animals over the increasingly narrow land conditions, the conflict will remain. "Thus, it is very important for all of us to change the paradigm and views of all parties towards the vulnerable indigenous communities," he said.

As WARSI has voiced since a few years ago, one of the possible solutions is to accommodate the Orang Rimba into a national and state system. "Give them the land for their source or livelihood, so they can try and live there without having to find food here and there which eventually will only conflict," he said.

He stated that in 2016, PT Bahana Karya Semesta also committed violence against the Orang Rimba resulted by the same personnel or actor. At that time, after having the denda adat, it is decided to give a sum of money  to the Orang Rimba. Two years later, this incident happened again. "This indicates that corporate awards to Orang Rimba are completely nothing, so they easily carry out arbitrary actions on this vulnerable group," said Robert.

The weakness of the Orang Rimba is manifested by their inability to survive and defend their self, although they are holding the gun. Thus, the state and companies around should help change the paradigm and attitude towards this group. “let them be part of this country, keep their rights and the company should be realizing that the Orang Rimba is also the societies they should protect objecting the national constitution, so no one can treat them in arbitrary and only pay the fine while all matters or issues are deemed as if it never happened", Robert added.







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