Nationalist party censors “anti-Christian” Bogor mayor over Yasmin church
by Mathias Hariyadi
PDIP leaders threaten non-confidence motion against Diani Budiarto, the Bogor mayor who has denied religious freedom despite a Constitution Court ruling. He has violated the law and rejected Indonesia’s founding principles of Pancasila. For political analysts, the decision represents a major “turning point”.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – The nationalist Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan or PDIP) has withdrawn its support from the administration of Diani Budiarto, mayor of the city of Bogor, because of his refusal to implement a decision by the Constitutional Court protecting the right of the members of the Yasmin Church to worship freely. For PDIP leaders, the mayor “violated” the law by not respecting a ruling by the highest court in the land, which set the terms that allow Protestants to build their own church in Bogor, West Java. The party does not exclude a vote of no confidence against Budiarto in the local legislative body.
Hamka Haw, head of the PDIP’s Religious Affairs Commission, said that Diani Budiarto violated the constitution and abused the rights of the members of the Yasmin Church who had won their case in court and had a permit to practice their faith.
For PDIP Deputy General Secretary Ahmad Basarah, the decision to withdraw support from the mayor, seen by political commentators as a “turning point”, is a sign of “responsibility and commitment to protect and defend Pancasila, our constitution of 1945,” which draws inspiration from the notion that the unity of Indonesia is based on the principle of “unity in diversity.”
For months, the Yasmin Protestant Church was the victim of Bogor mayor, Diani Budiarto, who had openly violated the principle of freedom of religion and denied its members the right to worship.
Despite the principles enshrined in the constitution and a sentence by the Constitutional Court in favour of the Church, the mayor systematically prevented worshippers from holding their services in their place of worship, which they had built in accordance with a duly issued construction permit.
On 9 October, the mayor sent security forces against the members of the congregation after they gathered for the Sunday service. Clashes between agents and parishioners gave him the opportunity to warn the Christians that he would deny them (pictured) access to the streets around the building to prevent them from praying outside.