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Government Authorities Demolish Buddhist Pagoda in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City

Authorities forcibly removed all monks from Lien Tri Pagoda, which belongs to the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam

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Vietnam, October 9, 2016: Government authorities in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City have destroyed a Buddhist pagoda from which they recently evicted monks, and have moved all of the temple’s contents to another location, the head of the religious institution said Monday.

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On Sept. 8, authorities forcibly removed all monks from Lien Tri Pagoda, which belongs to the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam and is located in district two of the city’s An Khanh ward, to clear the land for a lucrative development project. The Vietnamese government does not recognize the church.

“Lien Tri Pagoda is more than 70 years old, but they’ve destroyed the entire pagoda, and now it has become empty land,” Thich Khong Tanh, the resident abbot in charge of the pagoda, told RFA’s Vietnamese Service.

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He has argued that only the city—not the district—has the authority to take the religious institution’s land.

Authorities took away all the site’s Buddha statues, pictures, furniture, and boxes containing  human ashes to the city’s Cat Lai area, where they have decided to relocate the pagoda and monks, he said.

Buddhist monk Thich Khong Tanh, abbot of the Lien Tri Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City, discusses the iron-fist rule of the Communist Party 40 years after the Vietnam War, April 9, 2015.(BBG)
Buddhist monk Thich Khong Tanh, abbot of the Lien Tri Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City, discusses the iron-fist rule of the Communist Party 40 years after the Vietnam War, April 9, 2015.(BBG)

Placing a deceased person’s ashes in a pagoda following cremation is one of the three ways to dispose of the remains according to Buddhist tradition.

“Some people took pictures of the pagoda, which now is just a derelict place where everything has been destroyed,” Tanh said.

After the most recent eviction order was issued on Sept. 5, the thousands of people who worshipped at Lien Tri Pagoda had to go elsewhere, he said. Only a few hundred continued to go there until the place was destroyed.

District authorities also issued an eviction notice in July.

“I had said before that if they eliminated the pagoda, I would become a monk without a pagoda just like a homeless person,” Tanh said. “I may have to apply for refugee status because I have no place to stay.”

Government want to ‘eliminate us’

So far, the abbot has refused to sign an agreement with district officials to take over the new place they assigned to the monks.

“I said before that I would not accept it even if the government offered us 100 billion Vietnamese dong (U.S. $4.4 million), he said. “We don’t want to sell the pagoda or trade it for anywhere else.”

“The government just wants to eliminate us, using hundreds of policemen to evict us despite our protest,” he said.

District officials have been threatening to close the Lien Tri Pagoda since August 2014, when they sent resident monks an initial notice after Vietnamese authorities declared their intention to tear down the structure along with two Christian churches to make way for the development scheme.

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Authorities had offered a payment of 5.4 billion Vietnamese dong (then about U.S. $274,000) in compensation for the pagoda and its land. But Tanh refused to accept the money, saying that authorities were using the clearance order to eliminate the pagoda because it did not belong to the government’s own state-controlled Buddhist church.

Besides serving as a place of worship, the pagoda provides shelter to many rights activists and victims of injustice who go to the city to pursue their quests for justice with government authorities.(BBG Direct)

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  • Diksha Arya

    This is outrageous. Why does their government want to demolish a place of such cultural significance?

  • Antara

    Such a huge loss of the community! Disheartening!!

  • Aakash Mandyal

    Horrible…. What the hell governmnet is doing???… where they should take initiative to preserve such monuments and culture…their what are they doing…completely despicable

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Indian Cuisine becomes the most sought after in Moscow

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Indian cuisine in FIFA World cup
Indian dishes available in Moscow during FIFA World Cup 2018, representational image, wikimedia commons

June 17, 2018:

Restaurateurs Prodyut and Sumana Mukherjee have not only brought Indian cuisine to the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018 here but also plan to dish out free dinner to countrymen if Argentina wins the trophy on July 15.

Based in Moscow for the last 27 years, Prodyut and Sumana run two Indian eateries, “Talk Of The Town” and “Fusion Plaza”.

You may like to read more on Indian cuisine: Indian ‘masala’, among other condiments spicing up global food palate.

Both restaurants serve popular Indian dishes like butter chicken, kebabs and a varied vegetarian spread.

During the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

The Mukherjees, hailing from Kolkata, are die-hard fans of Argentina. Despite Albiceleste drawing 1-1 with Iceland in their group opener with Lionel Messi failing to sparkle, they believe Jorge Sampaoli’s team can go the distance.

“I am an Argentina fan. I have booked tickets for a quarterfinal match, a semifinal and of course the final. If Argentina goes on to lift

During the World Cup, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia
FIFA World Cup 2018, Wikimedia Commons.

“We have been waiting for this World Cup. Indians come in large numbers during the World Cup and we wanted these eateries to be a melting point,” he added.

According to Cutting Edge Events, FIFA’s official sales agency in India for the 2018 World Cup, India is amongst the top 10 countries in terms of number of match tickets bought.

Read more about Indian cuisine abroad: Hindoostane Coffee House: London’s First Indian Restaurant.

Prodyut came to Moscow to study engineering and later started working for a pharmaceutical company here before trying his hand in business. Besides running the two restaurants with the help of his wife, he was into the distribution of pharmaceutical products.

“After Russia won the first match of the World Cup, the footfall has gone up considerably. The Indians are also flooding in after the 6-9 p.m. game. That is the time both my restaurants remain full,” Prodyut said.

There are also plans to rope in registered fan clubs of Latin American countries, who will throng the restaurants during matches and then follow it up with after-game parties till the wee hours.

“I did get in touch with some of the fan clubs I had prior idea about. They agreed to come over and celebrate the games at our joints. Those will be gala nights when both eateries will remain open all night for them to enjoy,” Prodyut said.

Watching the World Cup is a dream come true for the couple, Sumana said.

“We want to make the Indians who have come here to witness the spectacle and feel at home too. We always extend a helping hand and since we are from West Bengal, we make special dishes for those who come from Bengal,” she added. (IANS)