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Page last updated at 10:05 GMT, Friday, 11 September 2009 11:05 UK

Court halts Mayawati statue spree

A crane being used to install a new statue of Ms Mayawati in Lucknow
She is accused of self-glorification by her critics

India's Supreme Court has ordered the government of Uttar Pradesh state to stop building statues of the chief minister Mayawati and her mentors.

The court said construction work at memorials where the statues are being built had to stop by Friday evening.

Ms Mayawati, a low-caste Dalit - formerly "untouchable" - is an icon for India's 160m low-caste Hindus.

She is accused of self-glorification by her critics. But she accuses her opponents of conspiring against her.

The court said construction work at the memorial was continuing despite the state government giving an undertaking to the court on Tuesday that it would stop work.

The government had given this undertaking after the Supreme Court ordered the state government to suspend work at five such memorials in the state capital, Lucknow.

TV channels have been showing footage of the work continuing at the memorial in the state capital, Lucknow.

Uttar Pradesh is one of India's most deprived states, with a high crime rate and poor health services.

Ms Mayawati's spending on statues and memorials has been described as "shameful" by India's Home Minister P Chidambaram.

In May she unveiled 15 new memorials, including two of herself.

Statues of political leaders are generally put up posthumously, but Ms Mayawati says that belief is outdated.



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