At least 14 persons were killed in Madhya Pradesh after the floor of a temple built over a step-well collapsed on Thursday, quoting the police The Indian Express reported.
More than a 100 devotees were offering prayers at the Beleshwar Mahadev Jhulelal temple in Indore’s Patel Nagar locality to mark Ram Navami when the floor capping the decades-old well, said to be 50 feet deep, caved in.
The dead included 10 women, state Home Minister Narottam Mishra told reporters. Officials said the toll is likely to go up as around 10 other devotees were still trapped, some of who are believed to be children, reads the report.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan ordered an inquiry and also relief 5 lakh rupees as relief for the kin of the deceased and 50,000 rupees for the injured.
“Due to the heavy load on the stepwell, it sank. I have given instructions to investigate the incident. In this unfortunate incident, the government stands with all those families with full sensitivity, whom we could not save,” he said.
PM Narendra Modi said he spoke to the CM to take stock of the situation. “Extremely pained by the mishap in Indore,” he tweeted.
A fire department official said army personnel have been deployed to control a massive crowd that gathered outside the temple as rescue operations were underway.
Officials said the incident took place around noon as devotees were taking part in a havan (fire ritual) when the floor collapsed and more than 30 devotees fell into the well. By evening, they added, more than 100 rescuers from the fire brigade, the NDRF, the local municipality disaster management and the local police managed to pull out 19 persons alive. Local residents also pitched in to help.
Those rescued were rushed to a local government hospital where two of them succumbed to injuries, reads the report.