Sun, 02 Oct 1994

Nation renews vow to defend Pancasila ideology

JAKARTA (JP): It was a brief but solemn ceremony at the Lubang Buaya Museum in East Jakarta yesterday, but it had deep meaning for those present.

"We are committed and resolved to defend and implement Pancasila," read Ismail Hasan Metareum, the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, during the ceremony led by President Soeharto.

There were no speeches, just the reading of the preamble to the 1945 Constitution by Minister of Education and Culture Wardiman Djojonegoro, the saying of prayers led by Minister of Religious Affairs Tarmizi Taher and the vow read out by Ismail Hasan.

Every year on Oct. 1, the same vow is repeated at the same ceremony. It is a recognition of the sanctity of Pancasila, the five principles of the state ideology.

That particular date was chosen because it marks the victory of the ideology over communism. On Oct. 1., 1965, the Army, led by a young Maj. Gen. Soeharto, foiled a coup attempt by the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) launched the night before. He prevailed.

On the night of Sept. 30, the coup perpetrators abducted six Army generals, later dumping their badly mutilated bodies into a disused well in the Lubang Buaya district. An Army captain was also killed and buried in the same way.

The coup leaders claimed they were acting to protect President Sukarno because the generals were planning to grab power. The Army said this was a pretext for the communist leaders to grab power for themselves.

Now the seven Army officers have been immortalized. Their statues stand atop the Lubang Buaya museum whose walls hold dioramas of the events surrounding the date Oct. 1, 1965.

The seven officers -- Achmad Yani, D.I. Panjaitan, Sutoyo, MT Haryono, Soeprapto, S. Parman and T. Tendean -- have been conferred the honorable title of "Revolutionary Heroes".

Their widows, children and grandchildren were all present at the ceremony yesterday. And Soeharto and First Lady Mrs. Tien took the trouble to meet with them and speak some comforting words.

The two men whose information led to the discovery of the bodies on Oct. 4, 1965, were present and Soeharto also took the time to chat briefly with them.

They were Sukitman, a retired police officer, and Omon, a truck driver.

Sukitman said he was doing street patrol on Oct. 1, 1965, when he came across a truck that was carrying one of the kidnapped generals. The armed kidnappers ordered him at gun point to board the truck and he was taken to Lubang Buaya. He managed to escape to tell the story to Army officers.

Omon recalled that his truck was stopped at dawn on Oct. 1 by a group of soldiers who turned out to be among the coup perpetrators. He was shoved into the back of the truck. He recalled that a number of generals were later pushed into the truck as well. He too subsequently managed to escape to tell his story. (emb)