efe-epaDhaka

The Bangladesh authorities on Sunday reinstated a statue of the Greek goddess of Justice Themis inside the Supreme Court two days after removing it from the front plaza of the court complex after violent protests from Islamic groups.

The creator of the statue, Mirnal Haque, confirmed to EFE that the statue had been placed away from the entrance for the general public, inside the building of the top court of this secular country with a Muslim majority.

The artist said he was happy the statue had been reinstalled but lamented the fact that it was inaccessible to the public.

The December installation of the statue of the blindfolded Themis in a sari, carrying a sword in one hand and the scales of Justice in the other, provoked protests by radical Islamist groups, particularly the Hefazat-e-Islam, a hardline Islamist group that has for decades been calling for the Islamization of the country.

The group demanded the statue's removal, claiming it hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims.

Protests by the organization are normally quashed by the government but last month, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina agreed to withdraw the statue during a meeting with Islamist representatives.

On Thursday night, the authorities removed the statue and on Friday, clashes erupted between secular activists and the police outside the court complex as civil society groups publicly opposed the decision.

On Sunday, Islamists and secular liberals alike expressed their opposition to the government's decision to place the statue inside the court.

"It is kind of cheating with the people, we will sit now and decide the next course of action," said Azizul Islam, a spokesman of the Hefazat-e-Islam.

Tuhin Kanti Das, the president of the left-wing Bangladesh Chhatra Union's Dhaka University unit, said the "balancing act" went against the spirit of the 1971 war of independence that resulted in the country's freedom from Pakistan.

"We have seen similar balancing acts which did not help anyone. We still demand the statue be placed in its original location," Das told EFE.

Muslims make up 90 percent of the 160 million people of Bangladesh that has historically been moderate.

However, in early 2013, a spate of Islamist attacks targeting secular thinkers, foreign citizens, and representatives of religious minorities began in the country, leaving more than 70 people dead.