The controversial statue of Lady Justice that stood in the compound of Bangladesh’s Supreme Court in Dhaka was removed on early Friday morning, reported Dhaka Tribune. Several radical groups, including the Hefazat-e-Islam, a body of madrassa teachers and students, the Awami Olama League and the Islami Andolan Bangladesh had been campaigning for months against the sculpture for being “anti-Islamic”.
The statue depicts the Greek goddess of justice, Themis, holding a sword in one hand and the scales of justice in the other, but wearing a sari. The statue was installed outside the court in December 2016. As Muslims oppose idol worship, the statue of Lady Justice was considered “anti-Islamic” and protests had erupted in Dhaka demanding its removal.
Around midnight on Thursday, 10 to 12 people were seen taking down the statue. Attorney general Mahbubey Alam said an order to do was passed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha. Sinha had asked the statue to be placed somewhere else in the compound, reported Dhaka Tribune. Alam said, “He told us he did not want any untoward incident over the statue in front of the Supreme Court.”
Sculptor Mrinal Haque was also present at the site during the removal to ensure the statue was not damaged. “This is a Bangali woman, wearing a saree,” he told the daily. “There is nothing Greek about it. This is nothing but a symbol of justice.” However, Haque added that he did not know if the statue would be placed somewhere else in the compound.
Meanwhile, a crowd of protestors gathered outside the locked gate of the court’s compound to demonstrate against the statue’s removal. They also announced a protest march on Friday at 11 am in front of the Dhaka University.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has, in the past, criticised the instalment. On April 18, she had asked why the statue of a Greek goddess was set up in Bangladesh. “The Greeks had a certain type of costume, but here a statue has been built and it is wearing a sari,” she was quoted as saying by the Daily Star. “It is a funny incident. I don’t know why such an incident happened.”
Also see: In Bangladesh, a movement against a statue of Lady Justice reveals the dangers of rising Islamism