The royal family committee’s head Ton That Vien Bao, lights incense praying after the grave was found under thick layer of bulldozing soil. (Photo: VNA)
 
Thua Thien-Hue (VNA) - The People’s Committee of Thua Thien- Hue province decided to move the grave of the bulldozed king wife’s tomb, augmenting the conflict between local government and the royal family committee.

Nguyen Dung, the committee’s deputy chairman, told a press briefing early this week that province authorities decided to remove the underground tomb of Tu Duc King’s wife that was razed last month.

Dung said the move was to “ensure fairness among other owners of graves”, which had been excavated and reburied at another place to give land to a parking lot project built in the buffer area amidst emperor Tu Duc, emperor Dong Khanh and other wives of emperor Tu Duc’s mausoleum and tombs.

Meanwhile, the Nguyen Family Committee, which is an organisation representing descendants of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945) said they wanted the tomb to be rebuilt at the site where the grave’s remains were found.

In case local authorities remove the grave, the royal family committee will send petition to the Prime Minister and report the case to UNESCO, said Ton That Giap, a member of the royal family committee’ secretary unit. At the same time, they will sue the investor of the parking lot for the criminal violation of illegal destruction of the tomb, which the royal family committee owns.

At the press brief, Nguyen Thien Binh, the culture department’s deputy director, said the tomb was considered ‘haunted’ before it was ‘cautiously’ razed by a bulldozer, blaming the royal family committee for being irresponsible for the tomb.

Binh added that the tomb has no cultural and architectural value. The provincial People’s Committee’s Deputy Chairman Dung supported this, saying the case is not an exception, as “the king’s wife is not a historical figure”.

Comments by the culture department have puzzled locals in Hue. Earlier, officials claimed that no tomb structure had been razed but bushes.

On June 21, locals living near the tomb attempted to stop a bulldozer from razing it, but the driver ignored the protests and destroyed the ancient royal structure.

At that time, the culture department and Hue Monuments Conservation Centre, a local government’s body that manages all monuments related to the dynasty, affirmed that there was no royal tomb, despite the fact that the tomb was located in the middle of a single tomb of another king wife and a collective tomb for 15 other royal wives.

The razed tomb was located in the buffer area of two mausoleums, Tu Duc and Dong Khanh, which is a protected area according to heritage law.

With strong pressure from the royal family committee and public, the department and the centre later admitted their mistake, but blamed the investor for the razing work.

Locals are questioning the motives of the razing after authorities remained determined to remove the grave.-VNA