Company PTPN III tries to evict 250 families in Gurila village, Permatangsiantar – land conflict since 2004

In October 2022, the company PT Perkebunan Nusantara III (PTPN III), represented by 300 people and 500 police officers, tried to evict 250 peasant families with a land area of 126 hectares in Gurila Village, Siantar Sitalasari District, Pamatangsiantar City, North Sumatra Province. 

From 2004 until 2020, PTPN III abandoned its concession land. Peasants who are members of the Forum Tani Sejahtera Indonesia (FUTASI), which is a member of the Agrarian Reform Consortium (KPA), have been reclaiming the former HGU (right to cultivate) land of PTPN III since 2004. Suddenly, without any notification or agrarian conflict resolution process, the Simalungun District Land Office issued an extension of PTPN III’s HGU.

From 2021 until today, PTPN III has only started replanting. Joint military and police forces repeatedly repressed peasants who were members of FUTASI. The peasants were even criminalised. Even though they have been cultivating and residing since 2004, the location has become an Agrarian Reform Priority Location. For the efforts of PTPN III, which will soon evict their settlements and cultivated land, the peasants demanded that PTPN III immediately stop the eviction plan and eviction of peasants who are members of the FUTASI organisation. Peasants also asked the police to immediately withdraw their officers from the location to keep the conditions in the field conducive. And prevent repressive actions against peasants who are members of FUTASI. Peasants also asked the Ministry of SOEs to immediately take firm action against PTPN III for taking counter-productive steps against efforts to resolve agrarian conflicts in the Priority Agrarian Reform Location (LPRA) area. Peasants also asked the Minister of ATR / BPN to immediately evaluate and revoke PTPN III licenses that have displaced and seized people’s land. In addition, the Minister of ATR / BPN and the Ministry of BUMN, together with the Coordinating Ministry for Finance and the Coordinating Ministry for the Economy, immediately accelerate the resolution of agrarian conflicts and the redistribution of PTPN III HGU land to peasants who need land, namely FUTASI.

PTPN III’s land-grabbing attempts

PTPN III has been trying to seize the peasants’ land for a long time. On 17 November 2021, PTPN III forcibly demarcated the location managed by the peasants, but because the peasants refused, the boundary was cancelled. According to KPA North Sumatra coordinator Hawari Hasibuan, the HGU letter issued by BPN is suspicious because, after the expansion in 1996, the Gurilla Community land is no longer in Simalungun but in the city of Pematangsiantar. “So we reject the issuance of HGU along with the revision, which seems to be imposing. Moreover, the community has controlled and worked on the land since 2004. “Ironic because the peasants and KPA have proposed the land as one of the Priority Locations for Agrarian Reform (LPRA) to the Government. Instead of accelerating the resolution of agrarian conflicts as promised. The government and its apparatus continue to evict and seize lands that peasants have cultivated. 

On 31 March 2022, PTPN III, escorted by 200 police officers, and the TNI carried out forced demarcation on the cultivated land of FUTASI peasants. Then for the umpteenth time, on 18 October 2022, there was another attempt to evict peasants carried out by PTPN III with the support of the Police and the TNI. However, the community continues its resistance by rejecting all actions and efforts made by PTPN III.

This condition is indeed a picture of the actual fate of peasants in Gurilla Village if PTPN III intends to evict peasants. Where will they move to, and what is the State’s responsibility for such conditions? PTPN III’s claim to the area is baseless because PTPN III abandoned its HGU from 2004 until 2020. It is a violation because, according to the law, permit holders are obliged to utilise their permits.

Detailed Case Data
name of the location:
administrative region: Indonesia, North Sumatra Province, Permatangsiantar City, Siantar Sitalasari District, Gurila Village
total number of victims: dozens
period of incident: 18.10.2022
perpetrator: police, company
perpetrator details: PT Perkebunan Nusantara III (PTPN III)
Issues: freedom of peaceful assembly, food, housing Sources: https://m.facebook.com/pembaruanagraria/posts/2218574634987565/, https://video.okezone.com/play/2022/03/31/1/146561/mengamuk-puluhan-emak-emak-penggarap-lahan-tolak-penggusuran-lahan-di-pematang-siantar
Further HRM News:

NumberName, Details  GenderAgeGroup Affiliation  Violation  
1unknown, peasantsmixedunknown unknownfood, housing