On 27 February 2015 Indra Pelani was beaten to death by security guards for the Chinese-Indonesian company Asia Pulp and Paper(APP). Pelani was on his way to a rice harvest festival with a friend when they were stopped at a security checkpoint. A confrontation ensued and Indra was brutally beaten by the guards, his friend managed to escape to seek help. When he returned with a large group of villagers there was no sign on Pelani so they filed a police report. The body was found several kilometres away the next day.
Pelani was a human rights defender and advocate for the rights of peasants and tenant farmers against the corporate takeover of their lands. He was a member of the Sekato Peasant Group which represented farmers working on thousands of hectares of land occupied by APP. There are more than 500 villages with unresolved land claims in the 2.4m hectares of plantations that feed APP’s giant pulp mills.
The killing was swiftly condemned by 25 European NGOs and 7 members of the security force were arrested however progress in the investigation has been slow. Human rights group, Rights and Resources International, reported that “As resource conflicts intensify around the globe, a growing number of environmental and land rights activists are paying with their lives—since 2001, 900 activists have been killed, triple the number from the previous decade.”