Bangladesh Supreme Court removes Lady Justice statue

Top court yields under pressure from religious groups whose call for removal of the Greek goddess statue was backed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

The base upon which the lady justice had stood.

A statue depicting the Greek goddess of justice was removed from the front side of Bangladesh's Supreme Court building early on Friday following pressure from religious groups that termed it “un-Islamic,” according to local media and the attorney general.

The controversy over the Lady Justice statue had been brewing for several months, with many religious groups staunchly opposed to its installation.

Even Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stepped into the controversy, who to the surprise of all, had backed the move to remove the statue.

Only policemen were allowed to enter the court premises when it was being moved.

Attorney General Mahbube Alam told Anadolu Agency the statue had been moved to another place within the court premises. “I heard the decision came from the full court to remove it from the present place and to replace it somewhere else in the court premise,” he said.

A lady Justice statue lies covered with a plastic sheet inside the Supreme Court premise in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, May 26, 2017. (AP)

Hefazat-e-Islam and Bangladesh Olama League were among the Islamic groups who had been demanding the statue’s removal since it was installed in December 2016.

Hefazat-e-Islam leaders met Hasina on April 11 demanding the removal of the statue of Greek goddess Themis, who is depicted blindfolded with a sword in one hand and the balanced scales of justice on the other.

In this February 28, 2017 file photo, a Lady Justice statue stands at the Supreme Court complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The statue was removed from Bangladesh's Supreme Court premises. (AP)

In his interpretation of the goddess, sculptor Mrinal Haque had dressed the goddess in the traditional sari -- a common dress worn by women in South Asia, especially Bangladesh. Typically, she is shown wearing a long gown.