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Land Grabbing and Desctruction of Village

What is affected
Housing private
Land Social/public
Land Private
Type of violation Forced eviction
Date 01 June 1982
Region A [ Asia ]
Country Indonesia
Location Banjaran, Langkat, North Sumatra

Affected persons

Total 0
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Proposed solution
Details 2010-en-watch.pdf


Forced eviction
Land losses

- Land area (square meters)

- Total value
Housing losses
- Number of homes
- Total value

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Private party
Brief narrative Land dispute in Banjaran, Langkat, North Sumatra, Indonesia In June 1982, PT. Buana Estate, a plantation company, obtained a land cultivation rights title from the Ministry of Internal Affairs for 70.3 hectares of land located in Banjaran, Langkat, North Sumatra. Shortly after, violence and harassment against the farmers began and many families living in Banjaran were forced to leave their land. Several farmers were even apprehended and put in prison. In 1986, PT. Buana Estate, without any court ruling and with the help of the army, evicted all the families who were still living in Banjaran and destroyed their houses. The area was turned into a palm oil plantation and only the graveyard where the farmers` ancestors were laid to rest remains of the hamlet of Banjaran. In 2000, the head of Langkat district together with the district level of the National Land Agency issued a letter recognizing the boundaries of the Banjaran village and demanded the revision of the concession rights of PT. Buana Estate. The review recommended that the land be redistributed to the farmers. In the absence of further action, farmers rose to reclaim their land. They met with the relevant agencies at district and provincial levels to plead for their cause, but it was in vain. In June 2006, they established a local farmers` association (KTMIM for its abbreviation in Bahasa) and were received by the Parliament, the Indonesian Human Rights Commission, the Ministry of internal affairs and the National Land Agency; however, none of these hearings brought the expected results. In July 2007, KTMIM decided to reoccupy the land. After a year of repetitive but failed dialogue to settle the situation, the farmers decided to build a fence on the boundary of the farmland they claimed was theirs to separate it from the PT. Buana Estate. The next day, four police officers carrying rifles came to the village and commented on the boundary. One of them started to ask around, “Which one of you is the field coordinator? I want to take his photograph.” One of the villagers bravely replied: “If you want to photograph us, take photographs of all of us. We are all coordinators”. The police officer said; “I represent the State; I can shoot and kill you all now.” One of the villagers stepped forward, exposed his chest, and said; “Shoot me now. You, policeman, who pays you? You are paid by our tax money.” The four policemen left the location without further ado. The villagers prevented PT. Buana Estate vehicles from entering the area and demanded that no fresh fruit be taken out from the plantation area before compensation to local farmers was paid. Later that day, the representatives of KTMIM and PT. Buana Estate agreed on the following four resolutions: 1) PT. Buana Estate is allowed to harvest ripe palm oil fruit; 2) Before any negotiation between locals and PT. Buana Estate can reach a resolution to the land dispute, both parties must cease any activity on the land; 3) Local farmers want financial compensation from PT. Buana Estate for the harvest; 4) The next negotiation meeting shall take place in the local house of representatives in Langkat. However, the day after the negotiations, PT. Buana Estate deployed hundreds of workers and security forces in the village perimeter to collect ripe fruits. Sensing the danger and considering that this development clearly violated the agreement reached the previous day, around ninety villagers formed a barricade preventing workers from entering the disputed area. As a truck tried to breach into the barricade some villagers laid down in the road to stop it. Instead of placating the situation, the police beat the village men and women indiscriminately, rounded them up and loaded them into a police truck. In the midst of the chaos, 46 villagers of Banjaran, two of them women, were taken away. At the police office in Langkat, the farmers were interrogated and beaten again under the accusation of carrying sharp weapon into the property of the company, destroying a bridge, and burning down a transportation truck. The police threatened to burn the village if the other farmers still hiding within the plantation did not surrender. The 46 villagers stayed in detention under very poor conditions. They received almost no food and their cell phones were seized by the police. Three women suffered serious injuries following the attack. One of them lay in a coma for several days. After the arrest, the remaining Banjaran people were re-evicted from their land and lost a place to stay and live. In December 2008, four people were charged with violating the Law No.18/2004 on Plantation by performing actions resulting in damage to the plantation area and leading to disruption of the plantation business. They were sentenced to fourteen months of prison by the Stabat District Court. The four farmers objected to the court`s decision and appealed to the High Court of Medan. In April 2009, the High Court of Medan decided to extend the sentence to seventeen months of imprisonment. They objected again and appealed to the Supreme Court. T?`VioId ?VioAuthor ???VioOrganisationoday, the Banjaran people and the farmers of KTMIM continue the fight and support their fellow companions by advocating for justice, complaining to the Judicial Court, and monitoring the follow-up of their appeal in the Supreme Court. At present, they are still waiting for a decision from both courts. (Source: Right to Food and Nutrition Watch 2010, October 2010, p. 69)
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