Bangladesh has reinstalled a controversial statue in the grounds of the Supreme Court in Dhaka, just days following its removal after being deemed un-Islamic by religious hardliners, and sparking months of Islamist protests.
Its removal from the front plaza of Bangladesh's top court on 26 May triggered violent clashes between police and secular groups last weekend who saw the move as further evidence of creeping Islamisation in the officially secular country. It now stands in front of the Court’s Annex Building. The original removal of the statue was described as "saddening and unacceptable," by an unnamed bishop quoted by UCA News. There was widespread concern by minority religious groups that the government was appeasing hard-liners.
The statue of a Greek goddess Themis - the goddess of justice - wearing a sari, is just six months old. Islamist groups claimed it hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina originally agreed to its removal, but the controversy is a sign of rising tensions between Islamic conservatism and liberal values.
PICTURE: Bangladeshis shout slogans during a protest against the removal of a Lady Justice statue in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 26 May 26. '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