Sampang, Madura Island (ANTARA News) - Police and Mobile Brigade (Brimob) personnel on Wednesday conducted a house-to-house search for sharp weapons in Karang Gayam village, Sampang district, following a renewed attempt by anti-Shiite people to attack members of the religious minority community.

"We have ordered the temporary confiscation of all sharp weapons such as sickles and other kinds of dangerous tools in possession of the villagers," Commissioner Danuri, head of operations of the Sampang district police, said.

The police operation was launched after a group of anti-Shiite locals on Tuesday moved to attack a section of the village where Shiites lived.

The search for sharp weapons was also conducted in Bluuran village, Karangpenang subdistrict, where another Shiite community resided.

The atmosphere in Karang Gayam and Bluuran villages was still tense on Wednesday with women and children in particular visibly gripped by fear.

Police and Brimob officers assisted by members of the local military command were seen intensively patrolling some parts of the villages considered critical.

A conflict between Shiites and locals of another religious conviction erupted in the two villages last December 29, 2011 forcing the evacuation of 351 Shiites whose lives were threatened.

The mob that attacked the Shiite community torched a Shiite madrasah (religious school), a prayer house and two Shiite homes alleging the Shiites were a deviant sect.

On January 12, 2012 the Shiite evacuees were returned to their homes in Karang Gayam and Bluuran villages with security guarantees from the Sampang district government and police.

After the situation in the two villages was deemed normal again, the police pulled out their personnel from the two villages on Monday (Jan 16).

But on Tuesday night (Jan 17) , the situation in the two villages heated up again as a mob approached a Shiite community in Nanggerbang hamlet in Karang Gayam village.

A brawl almost broke out with the two sides wielding sickles as the Shiites were this time determined to resist.

Earlier, on Tuesday (Jan 17), the chairman of the Shiite Jamaah Ahlul Bait Indonesia Association (IJABI) of Sampang district , KH Tajul Muluk, had come to the House of Representatives` Commission III in Jakarta to report the persecution of Shiites in Sampang.

"We only ask for justice. Those who committed crimes must not escape justice. We also call for an end to the repression of minorities," Tajul Muluk said at a meeting with House Commission III members.

He said Shiites in Sampang had for a long time endured discrimination, injustices and acts of intimidation. He hoped the House Commission could bring about a proper settlement of their problem.

"We only ask that the law enforcing agencies protect us. We too are part of the Indonesian people," he added. (*)

Editor: Kunto Wibisono
Copyright © ANTARA 2012