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Let controversial statue go: PM

By Special Correspondent
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has again advised Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha either to remove the sculpture of Greek Goddess Themis from in front of the High Court or take proper initiatives so that it could not be seen from the National Eidgah.
The PM reiterated her government and party's stance over the statue in a span of only 48 hours when the issue came up for an unscheduled discussion after the regular Cabinet meeting at the Secretariat on Monday.
Earlier on Saturday, the PM while inaugurating Judges Complex in the city had expressed her surprise how the sculpture of Themis wearing Bangalee women's traditional costume sharee was installed in front of the High Court without any consultation.   
Four Ministers, who were present at yesterday's Cabinet meeting, confirmed the matter. Wishing anonymity, a Minister said the issue was first raised by State Minister of Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu.
Chunnu thanked the PM for taking such stance over the issue. At the same time, some other Ministers picked up the matter. At one stage, the PM also took part in the unscheduled discussion.
"Without any consultation, a statue of a woman has been installed in front of High Court - Supreme Court.  Although it is called Lady of Justice's statue, it is dressed up with sharee….Did the Greek goddess used to wear sharee? Besides, it is installed in such a position which is also visible from the National Eidgah. In fact, it is not an impressive sculpture," the PM was quoted as saying.
The PM was also quoted: "I talked to the Chief Justice over the matter on Saturday after inaugurating Judges Complex. I told him that the sculpture was not spectacular at all. There is also controversy over the statue.  Either you remove it or replace it or cover it so that it could not visible from the National Eidgah."
According to mythology, Themis is an ancient Greek Titaness, which means "divine law". She is described as "the Lady of Good Counsel" or "Lady of Justice", and is the personification of divine order, fairness, law, natural law and custom.
Her symbols are the Scales of Justice, tools used to remain balanced and pragmatic. Some classical representations of Themis showed her wearing a blindfold and holding a sword, believed to represent her ability to cut fact from fiction.
Meanwhile, hardliner Islamist pressure groups, soon after the installation of the idol, have started registering their protest demanding the removal of the Lady of Justice statue from the High Court premises.     
Of them, the Hefazat-e-Islam took part in a protest in Dhaka on February 24 demanding the removal of the sculpture while similar protests were staged in Chittagong and Narayanganj on the same day. Earlier on February 14, they had submitted memorandums to the PM and the Chief Justice stating the "idol" anti-Islamic.
Against this backdrop, the PM in a meeting with different Alems and Ulemas led by Hefazat-e Islam ameer Allama Ahmad Shafi at Ganabhaban last week assured them of removing the statue from the court premises.
During the meeting, the Hefazat-e Islam demanded removal of all 'idols' installed in the name of sculptures or statues across the country, and also called upon the government to take initiatives so that any 'idol' is not installed anywhere in future.

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