Students from the YAI Persada Indonesia University and the Christian University of Indonesia (UKI), may have to think twice before getting involved in brawls again, as the police have installed CCTV cameras between the two campuses.
Rivalry between the students from the side-by-side campuses has triggered a large number of clashes since the 1990s.
The area surrounding the two campuses, which are located on Jl. Diponegoro, Central Jakarta, has been marked as a "hot zone" since then, as violent student brawls have caused traffic jams, vandalism, fires, injuries and even casualties.
The frequent brawls have created problems for the Central Jakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Ike Edwin.
The police, in cooperation with the city administration, have spent Rp 30 million (US$ 3,000) to build a police post equipped with eight CCTV cameras. Two cameras are directed at UKI, two at YAI, while the other four record footage from the street.
"With this post, we are able to watch the security conditions in the area 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Ike told reporters after inaugurating the facility on Friday.
"The post will also help us to take action faster if tension between students increase, so that we can stop brawls as quickly as possible," he added. Six police officers will be assigned to the 100-meter-square building, Ike said.
He added that the police would not only keep an eye on students.
"They will also watch the traffic, as Jl. Diponegoro and Jl. Salemba are very busy streets.
"People nearby can also report crimes at the post," Ike explained.
According to police data, there have been 32 violent clashes between students of the two campuses since January 2009.
The last brawl was in June and led to a fire at the UKI campus, injuring more than 12 people.
UKI and YAI students have made joint-statements several times, promising that they would end their conflicts and promote peace.
The police have also arrested a number of students involved in the clashes. However, the arrests have not prevented conflict from arising. The peace statements were "only on paper", said Ike.
The public suggested the city administration interfere and order the relocation of one of the universities.
Governor Fauzi Bowo, however, said that it would be difficult because they were not state universities. Fauzi said that the June's brawl was inexcusable.
"I fully support any legal action the City Police take. I believe the city police chief will take strict measures," he said.
The governor said that those involved in the brawls did not deserve to live in Jakarta.
"In my opinion, the violent clashes between students were not something dignified people would do." (bbs)