Thursday, June 20, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Civil society members still unhappy

Update : 29 May 2017, 01:21 AM
The reinstallation of the statue of Lady Justice in front of the annex building of the Supreme Court has garnered further disapproval from civil society members and activists, who criticised the government for giving in to the demands of a radical group like Hefazat-e-Islam in the first place. Human rights lawyer Shahdeen Malik called the reinstatement of the statue “another reflection of our confusion as to whether Bangladesh is a secular state or a religious state.” “Clearly, the decision to remove the statue was indirectly influenced by the government... the prime minister indirectly took position in favour of Hefazat on this issue... Hefazat is certainly not a political force, but it will continue to gain strength only if the government keeps giving them the space to do so,” he told the Dhaka Tribune. Eminent educationist and writer Muhammad Zafar Iqbal said this entire situation meant the government had surrendered before Hefazat. “It would be one thing if the government had decided for itself to relocate the statue. But it was done after Hefazat demanded it,” he said. “The government did it thinking about religious sentiment, but artwork can never be against religious sentiment... there are so many artwork preserved at many museums even in Muslim countries.” he said. “Changes have been made in the text book... this trend is not good at all.” Mrinal Haque, who created the statue, said: “Putting the sculpture in a new place is insulting. It was installed in an honourable place. Now it has been put in a corner. It is very sad that many things have been compromised here.” Rights activist Khushi Kabir sees the reinstatement of the statue as a partial victory, but she still maintains that the government should not have given in to Hefazat’s demand. “The statue was removed from in front of the Supreme Court following Hefazat’s demand, which is undemocratic; it is not right,” she told the Dhaka Tribune. “Hefazat now demands to have all sculptures to be brought down. Does that mean that the Aparajeyo Bangla will be demolished? Will Raju Bhashkarja be pulled down? “I think the number of Hefazat voters is not big enough for the Awami League to maintain close relations with them. The ruling party may have created a vast distance with common people to the end that they do not know what people really want. Most of the voters are young and do not want Hefazat to be given importance. Awami League seems to know nothing about that.
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