Bangladesh removes Lady Justice statue from court complex
The statue of a woman holding a scale and sword in her hands was installed in December outside angladesh’s Supreme Court building.Updated: May 26, 2017 14:07 IST
Associated Press, New Delhi
A Lady Justice statue was removed from Bangladesh’s Supreme Court premises under tight security overnight after Islamist hardliners pressed for its removal for months, the sculptor said Friday.
The statue of a woman holding a scale and sword in her hands was installed in December outside the court building. The sculpture is wrapped in a sari, a Bangladeshi revision of the usual representation, the Greek goddess Themis blindfolded and clad in a gown.
Some people protested late Thursday night on an adjacent street in front of the court premises when workers removed the sculpture. The statue was covered and was kept nearby afterward.
Sculptor Mrinal Haque said the removal was too shocking for him. “I am feeling terrible,” Haque told The Associated Press. “This is injustice, this is not fair. My mother has died and I can easily compare my present feeling with that loss.”
Islamists oppose idol worship and consider the Lady Justice statue anti-Islamic, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in a recent meeting with Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam that she did not like the statue.
Hefazat-e-Islam supporters have protested in front of the main mosque in Dhaka several times after the statue was erected. The group, which has a network of students from thousands of Islamic schools across the country, had threatened to launch a mass movement if the government failed to remove the statue.
A dozen activists belonging to a leftist student group marched through a street on the Dhaka University campus Friday but police foiled them by raising barbed-wire fence and firing tear gas. It was not immediately clear if anybody was injured.
In 2008, protests led to the removal of a statue of a Bangladeshi mystic poet at a road crossing near Dhaka’s airport.
The country of 160 million people is ruled by secular laws, but radical Islam has been rising.
In recent years dozens of atheists, liberal writers, bloggers and publishers and members of minority communities and foreigners have been targeted and killed.
First Published: May 26, 2017 14:07 IST