Aceh governor stands by police on arrest of Aceh youths

Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf has defended the Sharia police who arrested 65 youths during a punk rock concert in Aceh earlier this month and shaved off their spiky mohawks.

He said those who organized the concert had obtained a permit by falsifying documents from the police and the Aceh branch of the Indonesian Ulema Council.

"It was no charity concert for orphans [as they claimed]," he told journalists at the State Palace on Tuesday.

Irwandi, along with other governors and central government representatives in the regions, was at the palace to receive the 2012 budget plans from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

He also said that people had incorrectly related the treatment of the youths, who had their spiky mohawks shaved off, to the enforcement of Islamic shariah in Aceh.

"It has nothing to do with it," he said.

"It is untrue that the police arrested them. That's not it. The truth is that the police are helping them develop [their skills]."

Police official Iskandar Hasan earlier said the 65 youths were rounded up during the concert and brought to a detention center where their spiky mohawks were removed because they were deemed insulting to Islamic traditions.

Irwandi said the administration was concerned because many of them did not go to school or did not have jobs.

"As part of the administration, we have to think of their future, too. What will they become if they don't have any job now?" he said.

"The police are helping them find opportunities, for example, becoming a security officer - if that suits, or if there are any of them who want to go to school, we will provide them with scholarships."