The religious divide in Bali widens. The Hindu Balinese want the Bali bombers (of the 1st bombing) executed straightaway - convicted bombers like Amrozi, Imam Samudra and Mukhlas - while Bali police chief I Made Mangku Pastika, himself a Hindu, warned against the possibility of revenge bombings and terorisms if those convicted bombers are executed and unwittingly turned into Ialamist martyrs.
He wants to stop the cycle of killing, whether by terrorism or state-sanctioned execution.
The series of Bali bombings by the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) militants, though targeted against westerners particularly Australians, had killed many local Balinese, most of whom were Hindus.
In Bali there has been a growing local resentment against Muslim ‘outsiders’, mainly from Java. The anger has been aggravated by the economic hardship that followed each bombings. Bali is dependent upon tourism, which the bombings had severely affected. The locals have been the ones suffering most, from both the murderous carnage and the economic downturns that followed.
The second bombing has broken the straw on the camel’s back. The normally peaceful Hindus are now demanding the executions of the 3 convicted bombers. There have also been rumours and SMS’s instigating local Hindus to attack Muslim 'outsiders'. The Police Chief has warned Balinese against such civil rioting.
While the Police Chief has made a very sound, constructive and clinical case against further killings, it does show up the helplessness of, or lack of real effort by, Jakarta to conduct operations against the excesses of Indonesian terrorist groups, particularly JI.
Jakarta has been reluctant to ban JI because of its wide popularity and influence in Indonesia, even among leading politicians and government ministers.
(1) Australia Fails to Persuade Indon to Ban JI
(2) Indonesia Refuses to Ban Terrorist Group
(3) Malaysian Masterminded Bali Bombing