Indore: Eight persons died after the roof of a ‘bawdi’ (well) collapsed during a ‘havan’, a fire ritual, on the occasion of Ram Navami at a temple in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore city on Thursday, a senior official said.
Nearly 30-35 devotees fell into the well after the accident at Beleshwar Mahadev Jhulelal temple in Patel Nagar, said Indore Police Commissioner Makrand Deoskar citing eyewitness accounts. Earlier, a witness had put the number at nearly 25.
Officials said 19 persons have been rescued so far. Eight of the victims have died, said Indore Collector Dr Illaiyaraja T.
Expressing anguish soon after the accident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had tweeted, “Extremely pained by the mishap in Indore. Spoke to CM Shivraj Chouhan Ji and took an update on the situation. The state government is spearheading rescue and relief work at a quick pace. My prayers with all those affected and their families.” .
An eyewitness said that during the religious programme, there was a huge crowd of devotees on the roof of the bawdi in the temple. As the structure could not bear the load of so many people, it caved in, he said.
After the accident, people gathered around the temple looking for their family members who were present on the premises at the time of the tragedy.
Kantibhai Patel, president of Patel Nagar Residents Association, said no ambulance reached the spot for an hour even after authorities were alerted about the accident.
Local residents said that the temple was built by putting a slab over the ancient bawdi.
Chief Minister Chouhan also spoke to the Indore collector and police commissioner over the phone and directed them to speed up the rescue operation, said an official.
Efforts are on with full might to rescue the trapped people, he added.
Inputs from PTI