Thursday, July 22, 2010

Buddha Bar In Court

It seems like the Buddha Bar issue has not ended yet. The Buddha bar chain restaurant in Jakarta opened in 2008 and after protests from the local Buddhist groups, it was reported that the restaurant decided to change its name. However a reader of this blog pointed to me earlier that the restaurant is still using the name Buddha Bar and has not changed it as reported.

Indonesian Buddhists who grouped themselves under "Anti Buddha Bar Forum" had instigated a case against the operator of the restaurant PT Nireta Vista Creative and seeked the closure of outlet in Jakarta. Aside from the operator, the Governor of Jakarta and Jakarta Tourism Office were also named as defendants.

The case is still ongoing. In the latest court hearing, the operator of the restaurant claimed that it had obtained approval from a Buddhist, Budiman Sudharma before the restaurant was opened. As a man who held position in three Buddhist groups , Budiman's personal approval was taken as the consent of the Indonesian local community. However, in court, the lawyer of the Anti Buddha Bar Forum claimed that the groups which Budiman represented were very small organisations and had not more than 30 members in total. That number was no where the number of members of Walubi ( Indonesian Buddhist Council ) member which had opposed to the opening of Buddha Bar.

At the end of the latest hearing which was held yesterday, Budiman had to be escorted by police and security guards out of the court after members of two Buddhist groups began shouting and jeering at him. Members of Betawi Brotherhood Forum and Red And White Troops ( Laskar Merah Putih ) had been present at the last three hearings to put pressure on the court and those from the Buddha Bar.