BANGLADESHI authorities reinstalled a statue of Lady Justice outside the Supreme Court yesterday — but four left-wing activists who protested at its removal are still behind bars.
The statue, an adaptation of Western representations of justice as blindfolded Greek goddess Themis carrying scales in one hand and a sword in the other, was removed on Thursday night.
It was taken down in response to demonstrations by Islamist groups who argued that it was idolatrous and had been erected in front of a space used for prayers during two festivals.
Islamist pressure group Hefazat-e-Islam led rallies against the statue and has had success before in forcing the government to remove what it sees as idols — but the left is fighting back at the threat to the country’s secular tradition.
Bangladesh Students Union (BSU) general secretary Liton Nandi, BSU Dhaka College president Morshed Halim, activist Al Amin Hossain Joy and Arif Noor of the cultural organisation Udichi were arrested at a Friday demo against the statue being taken down.
They were jailed on Saturday accused of attempted riot and obstructing the police, a Bangladeshi journalist informed the Morning Star. Police filed cases against 140 “unknown persons,” naming just those four.
While the statue has been put back, it is in a less visible place, said sculptor Mrinal Haque.
“This is injustice,” he said. “My mother has died, and I can easily compare my present feeling with that loss.”