Death toll rises to 36 in Indore incident, FIR on 2 trust members

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Death toll rises to 36 in Indore incident, FIR on 2 trust members

Saturday, 01 April 2023 | PNS | INDORE

A First Information Report (FIR) was registered 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.

There are allegations against these two office bearers that they built a very unsafe structure by putting a slab on the stepwell, due to which 36 people lost their lives in Thursday's incident, Medha said.

As many as 36 people have been killed after the roof of a stepwell collapsed at a temple in Madhya Pradesh's Indore on Thursday.

The stepwell roof at the Beleshwar Mahadev temple could not sustain the weight of a large crowd on Ram Navami.

"Two people returned home safely after getting treatment. The search operation to trace persons reported missing is underway," Indore Collector Ilayaraja T said.

"The 18 hours long rescue operation started at around 12:30 on Thursday, and is still ongoing," he added.

Managed by a private trust, the temple is located at Sneh Nagar, one of the oldest residential colonies in Indore. Sources have said the tragedy could have been averted had the Indore Municipal Corporation acted on the complaints filed by residents.

Sources further claimed that Indore Municipal Corporation had in April 2022 served a notice to the Beleshwar Mahadev temple's trust in over complaints by locals who alleged that the temple was built on a stepwell in an encroached park. The municipal body had marked the well's cover for demolition but backed down after being warned by the trust that such a move will hurt religious sentiments.

On Ram Navami, a havan was being performed on the concrete slab covering a stepwell which also served as the platform of the temple. The concrete slab was not strong enough to hold the weight of 30-40 people, resulting in devotees plunging into the 40-foot-deep stepwell.

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) teams are engaged in the rescue operations.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced ? 5 lakh compensation to the families of the victims and Rs 50,000 to those injured in the freak accident.

Earlier today, the Chief Minister said that a magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the incident.

"FIR was registered, and the magisterial inquiry was ordered into the incident. Action will be taken against found responsible. The current priority is the rescue operation. The injured will be treated free of cost. PM has also announced the ex-gratia amount to the victims. We have ordered an inspection of such step-wells and borewells across the state," said Chouhan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with Chouhan to take stock of the situation.

"Extremely pained by the mishap in Indore. Spoke to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and took an update on the situation. The State Government is spearheading rescue and relief work at a quick pace. My prayers are with all those affected and their families," the PM tweeted.

The Beleshwar Mahadev temple was constructed after covering the stepwell about four decades ago.

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