Another Chechnya: Indonesian Province Announces Police Task Force Targeting Gays

West Java police chief Anton Charliyan said LGBT Indonesians would no longer "be accepted in society."

A police chief in Indonesia’s most populous province has made plans to deploy a task force whose sole operative will be to identify and persecute LGBT citizens.

West Java police chief Anton Charliyan announced the plan Tuesday as two gay men in the semi-autonomous province of Aceh were being flogged and just days after police detained 141 men in a raid on a gay sauna in Jakarta.

BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA - MAY 23:  An Indonesian man gets caning in public from an executor known as 'algojo' for having gay sex, which is against Sharia law at Syuhada mosque on May 23, 2017 in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. The two young gay men, aged 20 and 23, were caned 85 times each in the Indonesian province of Aceh during a public ceremony after being caught having sex last week. It was the first time gay men have been caned under Sharia law as gay sex is not illegal in most of Indonesia except for Aceh, which is the only province which exercises Islamic law. The punishment came a day after the police arrested 141 men at a sauna in the capital Jakarta on Monday due to suspicion of having a gay sex party, the latest crackdown on homosexuality in the country.  (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)
Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

In response to the Sunday raid, Charliyan told reporters that gay people suffered from a “disease of the body and soul” and called on the public to help punish these citizens.

“I hope there are no followers in West Java, no gay or LGBT lifestyle or tradition, Charliyan said, according to Reuters. “If there’s anyone following it, they will face the law and heavy social sanctions. They will not be accepted in society.”

He added that he would be establishing a special “task force” designed to root out LGBT Indonesians using intelligence specialists.

Activists blasted Charliyan’s speech, with Yuli Rustinawati, chairperson of the LGBT rights group Arus Pelangi, saying: “Police have a mandate to follow the law. They are not the morals police.”

YOGYAKARTA, INDONESIA - FEBRUARY 23:  Anti-LGBT activists protest on February 23, 2016 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Indonesia ministers and religious leaders have taken additional steps to denounced homosexuality, LGBT websites had been blocked and hardliners launched anti-gay raids over recent weeks. Indonesia saw its former communications minister calling for the public to kill any gay people they find and the leading psychiatric body describe transgenderism as a mental disorder. Homosexuality and gay sex are not illegal in Indonesia but the world's largest Muslim country has been increasing meeting intolerance from the Indonesian public.  (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)
Ulet Ifansasti

The announcement comes amid a nationwide crackdown on Indonesia’s LGBT community. What began with the erasure of gay dating apps and LGBT characters from television in early 2016 has since spiraled into rampant violence, seemingly supported by the government.

While President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has spoken out against the anti-LGBT discrimination, urging police to “protect [LGBT citizens],” his defense minister suggested the LGBT rights movement was “more dangerous than nuclear warfare.”

JAKARTA, INDONESIA - MARCH 08: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists hold a rally to mark International Women's Day, on March 08, 2017 in Jakarta, Indonesia.  PHOTOGRAPH BY Solo Imaji / Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 (Photo credit should read Solo Imaji / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Barcroft Media via Getty Images

This terrifying sentiment echoes one expressed by Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov who has repeatedly vowed to eliminate all LGBT citizens in Chechnya by the start of Ramadan on May 26.

To accomplish this goal, Kadyrov established gay concentration camps and told parents of LGBT citizens to kill their children or the police would.

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