Da Nang City Bishop Chau Ngoc Tri said he regretted that parishioners in Con Dau hamlet had resorted to violence against their neighbors out of dissatisfaction with a local resettlement plan.
to the city’s plan to relocate residents and graves in some areas of the city to develop an urban zone project here.
He made the statement during a May 18 meeting with the city’s Communist Party Secretary and People’s Council chairman Nguyen Ba Thanh, who aimed to provide the Da Nang Catholic dignitaries with information about the city’s development plans.
Thanh said city authorities had always shown their goodwill towards local parishioners in dealing with social security issues, Mr. Thanh said.
However, he said, a number of parishioners in Con Dau had acted against that goodwill by committing extremist actions to protest the city’s relocation plan.
As part of the city’s construction planning, the Hoa Xuan ecological urban zone is to be built on a 430-hectare area covering Tung Lam, Lo Giang, Cam Chanh, Trung Luong and Con Dau hamlets.
The project requires a relocation of about 2,000 households and an estimated 8,000 graves, including 380 households and some 1,000 graves in Con Dau.
Most of the local residents involved in the project had cooperated with the plan and helped facilitate it.
But a number of parishioners in Con Dau objected to the plan, he said.
The extreme Catholics beat, isolated and threatened members of 12 Catholic families who agreed with the city’s relocation plan, he said, adding that the beatings had taken place in front of a local church several days earlier, he said.
To create a new place for the religious life of local parishioners, city authorities have planned to build a chapel in the largely-Catholic community’s resettlement area.
The city has earmarked 40 hectares in the new urban zone for residents of Con Dau in case they wish to live in the zone when it is completed.
The city has also proceeded with a plan to relocate graves for the project, including 1,000 graves from Con Dau.
Bishop Chau Ngoc Tri expressed his thanks to the authorities for the support they had given residents affected by the construction of the new urban zone and said that the recent extreme incident was a regrettable case.
To help local parishioners seek new jobs after being relocated, he recommended that the city government to assign a vocational training project planned for the new urban zone to the Da Nang City Bishop’s Office for implementation.