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Indore temple mishap: 36 dead, angry locals protest against govt

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
Last updated on: March 31, 2023 16:41 IST
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The death toll in Indore temple stepwell roof collapse incident rose to 36 on Friday with the recovery of one more victim's body in the afternoon, an official said.

IMAGE: The site of the tragedy in Indore. Photograph: PTI Photo

In the morning, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan visited the Beleshwar Mahadev Jhulelal temple in the city, where the tragedy occurred on Thursday.

Near the temple, a group of locals shouted 'Murdabad' slogans in protest when Chouhan was on way to console the victims' families.


The slab constructed on top of an ancient 'bawdi' or stepwell collapsed during a 'havan' programme held on the occasion of Ram Navami at the temple located in Patel Nagar area of Indore, plunging several devotees into the water reservoir below.

The temple had been constructed after covering the square-shaped stepwell about four decades ago.

Talking to reporters, Indore Divisional Commissioner (Revenue) Pawan Kumar Sharma said, "The body of one person who had gone missing after the incident has been recovered from the 'bawdi'. With this, the bodies of 36 people have been recovered from the water body so far."

Sixteen people, who were injured in the accident, have been admitted to a hospital, while two other persons have been sent home after first aid, he said.

According to Sharma, the bodies of all those who were reported missing by the family members have been recovered.

"But we are not calling off the search operation right away. We will remove the entire silt from the stepwell so that there is no doubt left," he added.

Eyewitnesses said that after 11.30 pm on Thursday, the process of recovering bodies from the well and sending them to a hospital for post-mortem intensified.

Personnel of the Army, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) were involved in the search and rescue operation.

A joint team of the Army and the NDRF descended into the well with the help of a crane and a trolley to recover the bodies, officials said.

The rescue operation was initially hampered as the temple was built in a narrow space and a wall had to be broken to lower a pipe to pump out water from the well, they said.

An eyewitness said that during the religious programme, there was a huge crowd of devotees at the temple and its floor caved in as it could not bear the load.

Local residents said that the temple was built by laying a slab over the ancient stepwell.

Chouhan visited the site of the tragedy and reviewed the situation. Before that, he also visited the private hospital where 16 people, who suffered injuries in the incident, were admitted.

Later, a video surfaced in which some angry people are seen shouting 'Murdabad-Murdabad', 'Hai-Hai' and 'Shame-Shame' slogans in front of Chouhan, state Home Minister Narottam Mishra, Indore Mayor Pushyamitra Bhargava and local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in protest against the accident.

Eyewitnesses said the sloganeering took place near the temple when the chief minister and others had gone to console the bereaved families of those killed in the tragedy.

Talking to reporters after visiting the site of the mishap, Chouhan said he has directed the administration to find out if there were any wells and stepwells in the state over which constructions have been carried out by covering them in a dangerous manner.

Borewells in the state will also be examined to check whether they have been covered or not, he said.

"We want to ensure that the tragedy that struck the Indore temple does not occur anywhere else again. During the investigation, if any well, stepwell or borewell is found to be in a dangerous condition on private or government land, then action will be taken against the concerned land owner or officer," the chief minister said.

"The administration has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the accident and police have registered a case. After the investigation, we will fix the responsibility and action will be taken against the guilty," he added.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje© Copyright 2023 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.