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Home arrow Religion arrow Islam and the making of the nation: Kartosuwiryo and Political Islam in 20th Century Indonesia

Shifting approaches: between negotiation AND CONDEMNATION (1949-1954)

The ‘Commission for the solution to the Darul Islam problem’

At the end of 1949, two years after the conception of the Majelis Oemmat Islam and the organization of the Islamic Army, the NII was well established in WestJava and in Republican areas. Following the second Dutch attack on the Indonesian Republic, in December 1948, Kartosuwiryo appointed a TII consul for the Republican territory,[1] the Central Java branch of Masyumi was transformed into an MOI, and, in early March 1949, an imam was appointed to the Majelis Islam in Solo.[2]

In mid 1948 the Darul Islam had expanded well into Central Java under the command of Amir Fatah, and groups had been established in the Banten area, including Malingping, in west?ern Java.[3] But its influence had gone further than this, with the dispatching of an NII consul to Sumatra. Although the CMI had identified some Darul Islam groups outside Java as early as October 1949, it would take a few more years before the DI-TII established other structured branches and battalions, with their own distinctive characteristics there. The Aceh rebels, for example, only openly declared their participation in the NII in 1955.

By the time that colonial rule in WestJava was coming to an end, in early September 1949, the press had already exposed the inability of the Dutch to respond to Darul Islam’s attacks.[4] As the Islamic militias, which were now defined by the media as ‘bandits’, were disseminating terror[5] and clashing with other soldiers,[6] the vice-president of the Pasoendan state was counting on TNI’s support to solve the problem.[7]

According to a military source, the intensification of Darul Islam’s activities was aimed at ‘improv[ing] their [Darul Islam’s] situation before the transfer of sovereignty to the RIS, meaning before the region’s control [was] to be transferred to the TNI’.[8] The ramping up of activities should be read in both political and military terms. On the one hand, it represented the Islamic state’s attempt to conquer as much territory as possible from the Dutch, so as to appear stronger against the Republic of Yogyakarta. On the other hand, the Islamic Army felt more comfortable attacking colonial soldiers, rather than fellow Indonesians.

Months passed, marked by contrasting opinions and the absence of a coherent approach towards the Darul Islam, as illustrated in the previous chapter. Then, at its West Java congress - in which only the Banten, Jakarta, Bogor and Cirebon branches participated - Masyumi made it clear that it disagreed with Kartosuwiryo, even if the party was far from condemning his entire movement. K.H. Wahid Hasjim stated that

every Muslim has to strive for the establishment of an Islamic state, and Masyumi, as an Islamic political party, agrees with the institution of an Islamic state. It doesn’tjust agree with it, but it also has to apply itself towards its achievement. What Masyumi doesn’t agree with, in regards to the ‘Preparation for an Islamic State of Pasoendan’, is not its Islamic foundation, but rather the fact that a separatist movement in West Java uses the banner of Islam when the general population wants instead West Java to be a region within the [federal] state.[9]

On this same occasion, the party renewed its commitment to the ‘parliamentary way’ of establishing Indonesia as an Islamic state,[10] and a week later the national congress in Yogyakarta issued a resolution requesting that the RIS form a ‘solution commission’ (Komisi/ Panitya Penyelesaian Darul Islam) that would ‘look for the best way to settle the Darul Islam issue and all that is linked to it’.[11]

At the transfer of sovereignty, Soekarno named Mohammad Hatta, Ide Agung Gde Agung of Bali, Sultan Hamengkoeboewono IX of Yogyakarta and Sultan Hamid II of Kalimantan as formateurs of the first federal cabinet. This body was not to represent party politics, but rather was meant as a ‘work cabinet’, representing Masyumi, PNI, the Christian party and several others.[12] More important than the cabinet’s wide-spread ideological representation, though, was the fact that the Indonesian Republic of Yogyakarta retained the majority of seats, whilst the remaining sixteen states and territories only accounted for a minority.[13] This imbalance was to play a crucial role in the following months, as the Republic of Indonesia (Yogya- karta) pressed the case for the dismantling of the federal structure in favour of a unitary one.[14]

As Masyumi’s prediction that the Darul Islam would dissolve had not come true with the final transfer of sovereignty and the subsequent withdrawal of the Dutch - nor had the movement relented in its violence - the Darul Islam became a problem for the new Indonesian state. Throughout 1950, politicians across the spectrum issued comments on what the government and parties should do about it.

The debate about a proper ‘solution’ to the problem of the Darul Islam was opened in December 1949 by Masyumi, which issued a resolution advocating the political option. Masyumi’s position was quickly endorsed by the temporary government of Garut, which then demanded the formation of a commission to ensure that the Darul Islam was transformed into a civilian organization.[15] The following month in Ponorogo, Muhammadiyah and Nahdatul Ulama members of Masyumi took a more extreme position, openly condemning the movement as ‘unhealthy’ and un-Islamic because of its violent methods, and criticizing it for drawing its ideology from ‘outside of the boundaries of what is deemed acceptable by the party’.[16]

In March 1950, the Minister of Religious Affairs, K.H. Wahid Hasjim, was compelled to spell out to President Soekarno that only the Darul Islam had turned its back on the 1945 proclamation. The rest of the Islamic community of the Priangan supported the proclamation and had repeatedly affirmed its commitment to the Republican government. Hasjim stressed that the bulk of the Islamic community should thus be protected from any form of violence, both at the hands of the Army and the Darul Islam.[17]

The government appeared strongly committed to a political compromise, as Mohammad Hatta and the now Minister of Defence Hamengkoeboewono IX had attempted for months to get in touch with Darul Islam’s local leaders, as well as with Kar- tosuwiryo himself. The government went as far as establishing a ‘contact commission’, under thejurisdiction of the Ministry of Interiors. In early 1950 the vice-mayor of Yogyakarta announced that, between December 1948 and late 1949, Hatta sent two letters to Kartosuwiryo: one from his exile in Bangka and one after he had returned to Yogyakarta. Hatta had asked if the Darul Islam and the Republic could elaborate a common strategy of defence against the Dutch; if Kartosuwiryo was interested in receiving a Republican medal for combat; and if he would reconsider his position on the Republic once an independent state of Indonesia was established. These letters apparently went unanswered.[18]

The ‘solution commission’ was not making any evident progress. Between late March and early May 1950, several members were replaced (including Colonel Sadikin, whose position was assigned to the less politically involved Colonel Wijono), but still the commission was making no progress. The Islamic parties began openly questioning the competency of the commission and complaining that the RIS government should be more committed to a political solution while limiting the military attacks conducted by the Army against the Darul Islam - an issue that had also been raised at the KNIP meeting.[19] The Ministry of Religion kept redrafting the list of members of the Panitya Penyelasaian Darul Islam; by August 1950, nothing had been achieved.[20]

  • [1] ‘Pemerintah NII - Petikan daripada Piagam2 Imam no. 200/PNII/I/48, 12 December 1948,JogjaDoc no. 218b, ANRI.
  • [2] Letter from Madjlis Islam daerah Surakarta to Imam Negara Islam Indonesia, 9 April 1949,KabPerd no. 150, ANRI.
  • [3] ‘Rapport’, Politie Bantam, 8 October 1949, APG no. 998, NA.
  • [4] Antara News, 2 September 1949 and 20 October 1949.
  • [5] ‘Soal TNI dan DI - Petjajaan anggota Parl. Pasoendan’, Berita Indonesia, 29 November 1949;‘DI menjerbu - 100 rakjat mendjadi korban’, Berita Indonesia, 17 November 1949.
  • [6] Antara News, 3 November 1949, 9 November 1949, 15 November 1949 and 18 November1949 (in Cirebon, Indramayu and Garut).
  • [7] Antara News, 2 September 1949.
  • [8] ‘Tentara Belanda menggempur DI’, Berita Indonesia, 7 December 1949.
  • [9] ‘Separatisme - mendjalankan move baru dng. nama Islam’, Berita Indonesia, 12 December1949. The outlook of the federal state and the dynamics surrounding its establishment havebeen expounded in great detail by Kahin, Nationalism and revolution, pp. 391-445.
  • [10] ‘Masjumi menghendaki Negara Islam dengan djalan parlamenter’, Warta Indonesia,10 December 1949.
  • [11] ‘Resolusi Kongres Masjumi tentang DI’, Warta Indonesia, 22 December 1949.
  • [12] The cabinet featured four Masyumi ministers (Finance, Education, Religious Affairs andone without portfolio), three PNI ministers (Labour, Communications and Information), oneminister from the Christian Party and seven more without affiliation.
  • [13] East Indonesia held the Interiors’ and Information seats, Pasoendan the seat for SocialAffairs and West Borneo had one minister without portfolio. But the remaining eleven seatswere occupied by Republican ministers.
  • [14] Herbert Feith, The decline of constitutional democracy in Indonesia (Ithaca: Cornell UniversityPress, 1962), pp. 46-100.
  • [15] ‘Mosi badan perwakilan sementara Kabupaten Garut’, 7 January 1950, Kabinet PresidenRepublik Indonesia Serikat 1949-1950 [hereafter RIS], no. 85, ANRI.
  • [16] ‘Suara Masjumi terhadap Darul Islam’, Kantor Polisi Kabupaten Ponorogo, 16 January1950, KabPerd no. 150, ANRI.
  • [17] ‘Nota oleh seorang ‘ulama dikirim dari Menteri Agama RIS K.H. Wachid Hasjim kepadaPresident RIS tentang ummat Islam di Priangan dan soal Darul Islam’, 21 March 1959, RISno. 97, ANRI.
  • [18] ‘Ichtisar gerakan DI/Kartosuwiryo’, Kementerian Dalam Negeri Yogyakarta, 24 July 1950,KabPerd no. 150, ANRI.
  • [19] ‘Sikap PSII terhadap penjelesaian soal Darul Islam’, 4 May 1950, RIS no. 107, ANRI. ‘Kuti-pan pertanjaan-pertanjaan anggauta-anggauta badan pekerdja Komite Nasional Pusat kepadaPemerintah untuk didjawab pada harti-pertanjaan sidang ke-V tahun 1950; mengenai Kement-erian Dalam Negeri, dari anggauta W. Wondoamiseno (PSII)’, KabPerd no. 150, ANRI.
  • [20] An early draft of the members of the Panitya Penyelesaian Darul Islam (Commission forthe solution of the Darul Islam) was prepared by the Ministry of Religious Affairs (11 June1950), but subsequent drafts (8 July and 8 August 1950) show the (attempted) collaboration ofthe ministries of the Interiors, Religious Affairs, Information and Social Affairs. All in KabPerdno. 150, ANRI.
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