Indonesian authorities remove kindergarten principal over ISIS-style outfits at parade

Organisers were left red-faced after a torrent of criticism suggested the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria-style outfits promoted violence in a country that has long struggled with militant attacks.
PHOTO: Twitter/Rasjogja

JAKARTA - A controversial Independence Day parade at an Indonesian Military (TNI) kindergarten in Probolinggo, East Java, has resulted in its principal being removed and transferred to a different post.

Ms Hartatik, formerly the principal of Kartika V-69 kindergarten that falls under the supervision of the 0820 Probolinggo Military Command (Kodim), took up her new position at the Probolinggo Education, Youth and Sports Agency (Disdikpora) on Thursday (Aug 23).

On Aug 17, students of the kindergarten, clad in black robes and niqabs and carrying props resembling assault rifles, marched in the school's Independence Day parade, themed "Fight with the Messenger of Allah to Increase Faith and Piety".

Photos and videos of the parade went viral on social media, generating comments accusing the school of fomenting radicalism among its students.

Disdikpora head M. Kaskur said that Ms Hartatik had admitted to neglecting her duties in connection with the parade, particularly in not consulting the agency or the 0820 Probolinggo Kodim on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)-style costume parade.

"This is a strict administrative sanction. We (the agency) agreed to remove Hartatik (as principal), and she will assume the role of an agency staffer as of Thursday," Mr Kaskur said on Wednesday, as quoted by

"The principal's position (has not been filled). We will hold a coordination meeting to discuss the new principal," he added.

Ms Hartatik has since apologised, saying she had no intention of committing any misconduct, that the parade was solely for entertainment and that the kindergarten was just using the items it had in storage.

The military command's Army Wives Union (Persit) 35 head Yuliana Tungga Dewi also apologised to the public.

"We apologise for this (incident). We will be more careful. We have no intention of instilling radicalism (in children)," Ms Yuliana said.