Forbearing: Evictees of Pasar Ikan perform tarawih, the evening Ramadhan prayer, at a temporary shelter set up next to a half-demolished Mushola (prayer room) in the recently cleared Pasar Ikan in Penjaringan, North Jakarta.(JP/FAC)(prayer room) in the recently cleared Pasar Ikan in Penjaringan, North Jakarta.(JP/FAC)
SOME children chased mice and cats over the rubble of their former homes while waiting for their parents to finish tarawih, evening Ramadhan prayers, inside a tent and a half-demolished mushola (prayer room) in recently cleared Pasar Ikan in Penjaringan, North Jakarta.
Having to perform prayers on the ruins and enduring a cold night wind were the last things they hoped for this year’s Ramadhan.
Since the Jakarta administration razed their houses in April, around a hundred residents have refused to give up their land, camped inside seven temporary shelters set up amid the ruins.
They have refused to be relocated to low-cost rental apartments, given that they have lived in the area for decades and worked in the nearby fish market.
“This year’s Ramadhan has been emotionally draining,” said 40-year-old Maesaroh. “We are not only being tested by abstaining from food and drink, but our emotions are also being put to test.”
Having been accused of occupying the land illegally by the administration, Maesaroh said that she would continue to struggle for what she claimed to be her rightful land because then Jakarta governor, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, had promised to formalize ownership of land that had been inhabited for more than 20 years.
“I have the necessary documents such as PBB [land and building tax receipts] and land acquisition certificate signed by a sub district head,” Maesaroh said.
According to one of the residents, Upi Yunita, she had tried to take care of her land certificate in 2014 but officials at the National Land Agency only said that they could not help her since the land where her house was built had been declared state land. “When I asked them for proof of their claim, they could not show me anything,” she said.
The eviction, which is part of the Jakarta administration’s plan to pave the way for the revitalization of tourism on the city’s northern coast as well as for flood mitigation purposes, affected 347 households.
The residents, however, believe the move was unjust because they had never been involved in any decision-making discussion.
“Ahok is very mean to let us live like this. We helped him win the 2012 election, although most of us cast our votes because of Pak Jokowi, not him,” she continued.
Recalling the old days, she said that many things had changed since last year’s Ramadhan. She said that she used to gather with her family to enjoy the pre-dawn-meal and in the dusk when they broke their fast. Now she had to live separately from her family because her home no longer existed.
“My husband now stays in his office’s dormitory,” she said. “I’ve decided to stay here with other people who share a similar fate.”
Another resident Said, 56, said that the situation was entirely different compared to the last Ramadhan, when a large number of residents performed mass tarawih prayers.
“Afterward, I used to socialize with my neighbors and discuss many things until midnight. I just can’t believe that things have changed so fast,” he said.
He, however, said that he felt touched by the sense of togetherness that developed in the situation. “Just like a big family, we share everything we have. There seems to be no constraints between us,” he said.
The situation has also attracted sympathy from students. Fifty college students grouped under an alliance of engineering students from universities across Jakarta held a breaking of the fast event on Saturday together with the residents and presented 200 boxed meals.
“We feel called. One of our members lives near this area,” said Gabby Latupirisa, a student of Indonesian Christian University (UKI) in Cawang, East Jakarta. (fac)
The Jakarta Post
Saturday, 25 June 2016