Sixteen injured hospitalised; police file case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against two members of the temple trust
A woman is being pulled out of the well during a recue operation, at Beleshwar Mahadev Jhulelal, in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, on Thursday. Pic/PTI
One more body was retrieved from the step well at Indore temple on Friday afternoon, taking the toll to 36, an official said. Several devotees fell into the well after its roof collapsed on Thursday. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan visited the temple. Outside, a group of locals shouted “murdabad” slogans in protest when he went to console the bereaved families. Sixteen injured people have been hospitalised, while two others were sent home after first aid, Indore Divisional Commissioner (Revenue) Pawan Kumar Sharma said.
The bodies of everyone reported missing by their family have been recovered, he said, adding, “But we are not calling off the search operation right away. We will remove the entire silt from the step well so that there is no doubt left.” After CM’s visit, a video surfaced online showing angry people shouting “Murdabad-Murdabad”, “Hai-Hai” and “Shame-Shame” slogans in front of him, state Home Minister Narottam Mishra, Indore Mayor Pushyamitra Bhargava and local BJP leaders in protest against the accident.
Also read: Indore temple stepwell collapse: Death toll rises to 35, 14 others rescued
‘Bodies came coming out’
The tragedy, which snuffed out the lives of 21 women, two children and others, is the worst in the city’s history, said those living in the temple’s vicinity. Bodies kept coming out of the bawdi for 24 hours, they said.
The bawdi was completely open in 1972, said local resident Anil Bhatevra, 65, recalling his teen days when he used to take bath in it. “But around 1983, it was covered. We complained eight to 10 times to the administration against the covering. Once a sub-divisional magistrate also came with a bulldozer, but he returned. We don’t know why this bawdi could not be freed from encroachment till the tragedy took place,” he wondered.
Police file FIR
Meanwhile, an FIR has been filed against Sevaram Galani, president of Beleshwar Mahadev Jhulelal Temple Trust, and its secretary Murli Kumar Sabnani under IPC Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), Juni Indore police station in charge Neeraj Medha said. “The Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) had ordered the trust to remove the illegal construction in the temple, but it didn’t comply,” he said.
An IMC official said the trust, in April last year, said it would renovate the temple and open the step well. However, it did not carry out the works, he added. Meanwhile, Indore Mayor Pushyamitra Bhargava said he had ordered the suspension of a building officer and a building inspector of the IMC in connection with the incident. The temple had been constructed after covering the square-shaped step well about four decades ago.
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