The reinstallation of the Lady Justice statue inside the Supreme Court premises has enraged radical group Hifazat-e Islam.
The authorities by reinstalling the statue in front of the annex building has ‘toyed with the nation’s religious beliefs and sentiments’, said Shah Ahmad Shafi, who heads the Qawmi madrasa-based organisation.
The statue of Lady Justice, a symbol of the judiciary’s moral integrity with its blindfold, sword and scales, was removed from near the top court’s entrance on Thursday night.
The move sparked protests in Dhaka over the growing influence of the extremist group on the government. Islamist groups took out processions on Friday to thank Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for the statue’s removal.
“Just when the nation’s people were getting ready to start the holy month of Ramadan, we learned that the statue was put back in front of the Supreme Court’s annex building,” Shafi said in a statement on Sunday.
The news, he claimed, has surprised and shocked the group.
“The statue of the Greek goddess has to go. The statue, placed there against the wishes of the people, cannot have a place in Bangladesh.”
After the statue created by sculptor Mrinal Haque was placed at the top court last year, Hifazat threatened to cripple Dhaka with another rally that calls to mind mass marches and sit-ins that paralysed Motijheel in 2013.
Then their demand found an ally in Hasina, who while hosting Hifazat leaders at her official residence Ganabhaban, said she too disliked the statue.
She had defended her stance saying the statue was ‘half-Bengali and half-Greek’ as it was clad in a sari and installed next to the Eidgah where Muslim worshippers congregate for prayers at least twice a year.
The Hifazat chief said the government has relocated the statue by “paying no heed to the wishes of the people”.
Meanwhile, sculptor Haque, apparently unhappy with the new location, said it was the same as not displaying it because no-one except the court’s people can see it now.