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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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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

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Google's new tool can help you make our planet healthy. Wikimedia Commons

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?