Rare AL-BNP agreement on SC statue removal as protest erupts

The Awami League and the BNP, for once, are in an unusual agreement as the arch rivals defended the relocation of the Supreme Court statue as demanded by the Islamic hardliners.

Moinul Hoque Chowdhurybdnews24.com
Published : 26 May 2017, 11:18 PM
Updated : 27 May 2017, 02:42 PM

JaSoD, meanwhile, has backed down from criticism of the move that has drawn howls of protests from other politicians, academicians, secular activists and people from almost all echelons of society.

Many fear that this meltdown will only embolden the radical forces who will go on to create more political issues.

According to Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader and BNP Standing Committee Member Moudud Ahmed, Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, not the government, had authorised the removal.

Hasanul Haq Inu, President of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, a partner of the Awami League-led coalition, was on the same wavelength.

His party, however, had protested strongly when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave in to Islamists' demand for the removal.

Workers' Party, another ally of the Awami League, was also critical of the removal as 'shameful surrender' to the demand of hardliners like Hifazat-e Islam.

"Unfortunately, the debate was turned into one between statue and sculpture. Actually it has nothing to do with religion. This step backward is unfortunate for the nation," the party, headed by Rashed Khan Menon, said in a statement.

The statue, removed under the cover of night on Friday, was a variation on the Greek goddess Themis in a sari.

The Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal (BaSoD) and other leftist parties have also protested against the displacement.

Ganajagaran Mancha, Chhatra Union, Chhatra Front, Chhatra Maitri and many other student and cultural  organisations demonstrated against the removal throughout the day.

Police fired teargas shells, rubber bullets and used water cannons to disperse protesters in Dhaka University area in the afternoon.

They are asking for reinstallation of the sculpture.

Professor Serajul Islam Choudhury said the removal of the statue would let Hifazat exert more pressure and bargain for now.

Professor Anisuzzaman, writer Hasan Azizul Huq, musician Sanjida Khatun, essay writer Mafidul Haque, journalist Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury, cultural personalities Syed Hasan Imam, Ramendu Majumder, Mamunur Rashid, Nasiruddin Yousuf, and martyr's wife Panna Kaiser issued a joint statement against the removal of the statue.

They said such an 'anti-progressive' move has enraged them.

Shahriar Kabir, who is vocal for war crimes trial, says the activities centring the statue was a attack on the spirit of Liberation War.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher