WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- In East Java, people ignoring the rule to wear face masks in public are being ordered to dig graves for COVID-19 victims.
- Head of the Cerme district, Suyono, hopes the punishment will deter anybody else from disregarding the face mask rule.
- Quarantine violators in Java Island have also received a unique punishment- being locked up in haunted houses.
With the rise of coronavirus cases in East Java, those who refuse to follow the policy to wear face masks in public have been ordered to dig graves for COVID-19 victims as punishment. According to local media, the punishment was issued to eight men in the Cerme district. The district’s head, Suyono, said that only three gravediggers are available, so why not put anti-maskers to work with them.
Suyono instructed two people to assist the gravediggers at each grave- one would dig while the other lays boards to support the corpse. He hopes the punishment will help deter other people thinking of violating the mask policy.
Cerme’s police chief, Moh Nur Amin, said he and his officers would also work with the military to enforce COVID-19 health protocols.
It’s not the first time that Indonesian officials have imposed unique punishments on people ignoring COVID-19 rules.
According to Agence France Presse, a politician named Kusdinar Untung Yuni Sukowati, head of Sragen Regency, punished quarantine violators by having them locked inside abandoned houses that are believed to be haunted. Sukowati ordered villagers of Java Island to lock up travelers who disregarded the order to isolate themselves for at least two weeks after arriving at the island.
There is a widespread belief among locals that the buildings-turned-temporary detainment centers are haunted according to Indonesian folklore and superstition.
Heri Susanto traveled to Java from Sumatra and was temporarily detained when he disobeyed quarantine rules. Though he hasn’t seen any ghosts, Susanto says he’s learned a valuable lesson.