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Govt must restore Sukarno’s reputation, rights activist says

BINTANGNEWS.com The government must straighten out Indonesia’s history by repairing the reputation of former president Sukarno who has been accused of being involved in the 1965 abortive coup that was blamed on the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).

“He was a victim of the 1965 tragedy as there was a ‘stealthy coup’ by Soeharto towards Sukarno,” human rights watchdog Imparsial executive director Al Araf said in Jakarta on Thursday.

“Like it or not, Sukarno has to be placed in our history as a national hero. He was not involved in the 1965 tragedy,” he went on.

The kidnapping and murder of six Army generals on Sept.30, 1965, led to the purge of  PKI members, sympathizers and their families by the military under Soeharto’s leadership.  It is estimated that between 500,000 to 1 million people  with any sort of leftist connection, regardless of their age or level of involvement were massacred.

Soeharto seized power in 1966 with the controversial March 11 Indonesian Presidential Executive Order (Supersemar). The Provisional People’s Consultative Assembly (TAP MPRS) XXIII/1967 on Sukarno’s involvement in the 1965 tragedy was later issued in the New Order era, in which the decree dismissed Soekarno’s political rights.

On whether the mandate was merely an order to restore the country’s security or a transfer power to Soeharto remains a mystery. Several historians have also still question whether Sukarno or not was forced to issue the mandate.

Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) historian Asvi Warman Adam has recently called on the government to rehabilitate the 1965 victims’ reputation including Sukarno.

“The government must remove any stigma and discrimination related to 1965 incident. The 1965 victims have to be rehabilitated, including Sukarno’s reputation,” Asvi said during the national symposium on the 1965 tragedy in Jakarta on Monday, as quoted by kompas.com.

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