Higher education ministry contacts rectors over student protests

Higher education ministry contacts rectors over student protests

Thousands of students staged a protest against several controversial bills in Tanjungpinang, Riau Islands Province, recently. ANTARA/Nikolas Panama/rn.

Tanjungpinang, Riau (ANTARA) - The Research, Technology and Higher Education Ministry has invited rectors from various universities in Indonesia to discuss issues related to protests that broke out in various cities over the past few days. Rector of Raja Ali Maritime University (UMRAH) Professor Syafsir Akhlus confirmed in Tanjungpinang, the capital city of Riau Islands Province, Saturday that he had received the ministry's invitation.

"That is a national meeting. The ministry has also invited me," Akhlus said without elaborating when and where the meeting would be held.

Related news: Indonesian students again stage rallies in protest of law changes

In connection with this student protests, Research, Technology, and Higher Education Minister Mohammad Nasir had met President Joko Widodo at the Merdeka Palace Thursday.

President Joko Widodo had asked him to call on the university students to stop taking to the streets, and, instead, return to their respective campuses, Nasir said. The president also hinted that he was keen to hold a constructive dialog with the students.

Over the past few days, massive student protests broke out in various cities across Indonesia against the recent passing of the revised law on the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and several controversial bills, including the Criminal Code Bill.

In one such protest held in Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi Province, Thursday, two Halu Oleo University's students who had joined the rally were killed.

Related news: Halu Oleo University student killed in massive Kendari protest

They are identified as Immawan Randi, 21, of the University of Halu Oleo's Faculty of Marine Science and Fisheries, and Muh Yusuf Kardawi, 19, of the University of Halu Oleo's diploma in an engineering program.

"Kardawi passed away Friday at around 4 a.m. local time after receiving intensive care in the aftermath of his surgery at Bahtermas Hospital," the hospital's acting director, Doctor Sjarif Subijakto, revealed.

Regarding Randi's death, the Muhammadiyah Students Association (IMM) has appealed to the National Police to conduct an exhaustive and transparent investigation into the shooting incident that killed him.

Randi was a part of his organization's cadre, General Chairman of IMM's Central Executive Board Najih Prastiyo has stated.

"We, all cadres of the IMM across Indonesia, express our deepest condolences over the passing of our colleague whose death may have been caused by a bullet during a student protest in Kendari," he stated.

The death of Randi, after suffering a gunshot wound to his right chest during clashes between protesting students and the anti-riot policemen in front of the Southeast Sulawesi Parliament building, was proof of the policemen's repressive acts, he stated.

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