Indonesian punk rockers 'cleansed'

2011-12-14 14:34
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Cleansed Indonesian punks

Police in Indonesia's most conservative province stripped away body piercings and buzzed off spiky mohawks from 65 youths because of their perceived threats to Islamic values.

Banda Aceh - Police in Indonesia's most conservative province stripped away body piercings and buzzed off spiky mohawks from 65 youths detained at a punk-rock concert because of their perceived threats to Islamic values.

The teens and young men were also stripped of dog-collar necklaces and chains and then thrown in pools of water for "spiritual" cleansing, local police chief Iskandar Hasan said on Wednesday.

After replacing their "disgusting" clothes, he handed each a toothbrush and barked "use it".

It was the latest effort by authorities to promote strict moral values in Aceh, the only province in this secular but predominantly Muslim nation of 240 million people to have imposed Islamic laws.

Music lovers from afar

Here, adultery is punishable by stoning to death. Homosexuals have been thrown in jail or lashed in public with rattan canes. Women are told wearing headscarves is a must, but please, no tight pants.

Punk rockers have complained for months about harassment, but Saturday's roundup was by far the most dramatic.

Baton-wielding police broke up the concert, scattering young music lovers, many of whom had travelled from other parts of the sprawling archipelagic nation.

Dozens were loaded into vans and brought to a police detention centre in the hills, 60km from the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, for "re-education".

‘Why my hair?!’

They will be held there for at least 10 days, after which they'll be returned to their parents.
Twenty-year-old punker, Fauzan, was mortified.

"Why? Why my hair?!" he said, pointing to his cleanly shaven head. "We didn't hurt anyone. This is how we've chosen to express ourselves. Why are they treating us like criminals?"

Hasan insisted he'd done nothing wrong.

"We're not torturing anyone," he said. "We're not violating human rights."

Aceh was given semi-autonomy as part of a peace deal with Indonesia's central government after the province agreed to end a separatist struggle in 2005.
Read more on:    indonesia  |  culture

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