Police investigate newly-emerged ancient ‘kingdom’ in Central Java claiming to be saviors of the world

Totok Santosa Hadiningrat and his partner Dyah Gitarja as the “king and queen” of Keraton Agung Sejagat (which roughly translates to the Great Palace of the Universe). Photo: Istimewa
Totok Santosa Hadiningrat and his partner Dyah Gitarja as the “king and queen” of Keraton Agung Sejagat (which roughly translates to the Great Palace of the Universe). Photo: Istimewa

Update Jan. 15: The Central Java Police arrested Totok Santosa and his wife, Fanni Aminadia (previously identified as Dyah Gitarja) yesterday evening under suspicion of fraud and creating a public disturbance by spreading fake news. Police are also looking into whether or not their claims of world domination can be categorized as treason.

Original story follows.

The emergence of a so-called “kingdom” in Central Java, which claims to have descended from the Majapahit Empire, created a controversy in Indonesia. Police say they are looking into the matter after local residents living near the so-called kingdom’s “palace” expressed concerns over the group’s activities. 

The internet first caught wind of the existence of the group after a thread by Twitter user @aritsantoso went viral. The user revealed that the group, who calls themselves Keraton Agung Sejagat (KAS for short, and roughly translates to the Great Palace of the Universe), has built a keraton (palace) in Pogung Jurutengah village, located in Purworejo regency, Central Java. 

According to the thread, KAS is led by a man named Totok Santosa Hadiningrat and his wife Dyah Gitarja as king and queen of the kingdom. Totok once described KAS as the “mother of all kingdoms and countries in the world” tasked with saving the world, though it’s not clear what the world needs saving from other than Totok’s vague mentions about World War III on social media.

“Keraton Agung Sejagat has devices that were built and shaped in Europe, owns the world parliament, which is the United Nations. KAS also owns the International Court of Justice and Defence Council. The Pentagon is KAS’ security council, not America’s,” Totok said in a recent interview with RMOL Jateng.

It’s not clear when KAS was formed and why the group has only recently emerged in the public eye if its claims that it’s an ancient kingdom were true. But a local media report found that Totok was part of another group a few years ago in Yogyakarta, which appeared to be a scam as it charged members registration fees in return for promised wealth.

KAS, which reportedly has around 400 members, appears to be a similar money-making scam, charging members IDR3 million (US$219) for uniforms. The group seems to be well-funded, as it held an extravagant “royal procession” on Friday that served to attract even more public attention to itself.

‘It doesn’t make sense’ 

A local resident in Pogung Jurutengah described KAS’ presence as “troubling,” saying that the group’s activities often interfere with religious worship of the local community, who are mostly Muslims. 

“During kliwon [a day in the Javanese calendar], many people come to visit from out of town. If it’s all cultural it’s fine, but they use incense, offerings and other things that don’t make sense. We are not in support of their rituals. As far as I know they were developing something for tourism, but why does it look like this?” the resident, who remained anonymous, told Detik yesterday

KAS has rejected accusations that its activities have been disturbing local residents. In fact, KAS representatives say they have plans to expand their palace.

That said, KAS’ emergence has caused adequate concerns in the region that it prompted local authorities to launch an official inquiry into the matter.

KAS appears to be unlike many cults in Indonesia, such as the Jellyfish Kingdom, to achieve prominence in recent years, many of which saw their leaders prosecuted for deviating from the country’s mainstream religious beliefs. Instead, KAS holds more similarities to “spiritual guru” Dimas Kanjeng’s cult, which consists of followers who believed that he could conjure money out of thin air. Kanjeng was eventually sentenced to 21 years in prison for financial fraud and murder.

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