The Jakarta Post, Denpasar Wed, January 02 2013,
Two separate clashes in Denpasar and Singaraja, Bali, marred New Year’s Eve celebrations, that took place joyfully and peacefully in other regions on the resort island. The brawl in Denpasar killed one and injured two, while three were injured in Singaraja.
The local police and administrations are currently working to prevent the clashes escalating into an all-out inter-village conflict. In Bali, there is a prevailing sense of tribalism that dictates members of traditional community organizations, such as customary villages and banjar (hamlets), aid their fellow members in conflicts with “outsiders”.
The clash in Denpasar took place in Banjar Saih in Peguyangan Kaja village at dawn Tuesday. One member of the banjar, identified as Wayan Suardana, 42, and his friend from the neighboring Banjar Gunung, identified as Ketut Ardana, 32, were injured in the clash, while I Nyoman Adi Saputra, 24, a member of Banjar Bersih in Tegal Darmasaba village, was killed.
“The victim’s body displays multiple stab wounds in his stomach and right thigh,” Denpasar police chief Sr. Comr. I Wayan Sunartha said.
A preliminary police report revealed that the victim, who was drunk and riding a motorbike with his friend, rammed into a portable road sign near Banjar Gunung’s community hall. Local youth, who were celebrating New Year’s Eve in the hall, mocked the victim and his friend, who were sprawled on the street.
Later in the afternoon, the Denpasar and Badung police chiefs and the Denpasar deputy mayor organized a meeting between the leaders of the involved banjar to prevent the clash from escalating. The leaders agreed to let the police handle the case, as well as to inform the members of their respective banjar that the clash was the act of individuals and had nothing to do with the banjar.
Some 80 kilometers to the north, a clash between youth from two different banjar injured three people. Buleleng police chief of operations Comr. Ida Bagus Wedana Jati disclosed that the clash took place on Monday at 11 p.m. at Penarukan village and involved two groups of drunken youth from Banjar Satria and Banjar Pendes. Riot police had been deployed to cordon the area and prevent further clashes.
The local administration was to hold a mediation meeting involving leaders of the two banjar on Wednesday.
In addition to the violent clashes, the New Year’s Eve celebration in Buleleng also saw a 21-year-old man, identified as Oka Permana, a resident of Banjar village, being rushed to Singaraja hospital after a firecracker exploded near his right eye inflicting a severe injury. Hospital staff said that he would undergo surgery that would likely leave him without his right eyeball.
Menwhile, in other places in the country, New Year’s Eve was celebrated with a jubilant spirit.
In Surakarta, Central Java, the rain did not stop thousands of residents from enjoying the car-free night, held for second consecutive year, on New Year’s Eve.
The city’s 5.3-kilometer-long main road, Jl. Slamet Riyadi, was closed at around 9 p.m. for the event. The people were entertained by 2013 dancers, consisting of elementary school and junior high school students aged between 8 and 15, who performed the jaran kepang (bamboo horse dance).
In Pontianak, West Kalimantan, residents enjoyed the launch of a musical dancing fountain New Year’s Eve. The fountain, built in Kapuas Square right in front of the mayor’s office, dances to South Korean pop star Psy’s hit song “Gangnam Style” and Indian film star Shahrukh Khan’s “Chaiyya Chaiyya”