Jayapura, 27/2 (Jubi) – Residents of Kurulu have rejected the proposed split of Okika from Jayawijaya Regency. They protested plans to turn their customary land into the capital of Okika Regency.
“It’s because the community is not ready to face globalization, which will marginalize the indigenous people,” said Boni Alua, the spokesman of the team opposing the split at Abe Grand Hotel, Jayapura on Thursday (27/2).
He said the division was not the wish of the Okika people, but that of local elites who are disappointed at losing in the political battle in 2008.
The head of the team, Benyamin Logo, said it had been tasked by customary leaders to convey their rejection to all related stakeholders.
“We refuse the establishment of Okika Regency. But please don’t stigmatized us as separatists,” he said.
People refuse the establishment of new regency because of some reasons. The word Okika is culturally a sacred name that describes the cultural structure of Baliem Valley in particular for Kurulu region.
“It could reveal all sacred places of Kurulu. People believe this could result in economic destruction and disasters,” Benyamin added.
“The local people of Yawika Village are traditional farmers and could not do anything else. If their village turned to be a city’s capital therefore their farming area would be smaller. It would threaten their lives because without other skills they would be marginalized in their own land. Lacking of human resources qualities and quantities of Okika would possibly withdraw the attention of the outsiders to fulfill the government offices. And like other new regencies in the Papua highland areas, it would raise social problems because the indigenous people are once again marginalized,” he said. (Jubi/Aprila/rom)