Bulldozers raze down ‘illegal’ Indore temple days after Ram Navmi tragedy

temple indoreImage: NDTV

Four days after the stepwell roof collapse at a temple in Indore claimed 36 lives, the local administration on Monday morning launched a drive to remove encroachments from the religious complex and moved the idols of deities to another shrine reported PTi.

The bulldozer operation — now common to Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat— was launched at the Beleshwar Mahadev Jhulelal temple complex in Patel Nagar area here in Madhya Pradesh in the presence of heavy police security and barricades were placed on roads leading to the temple, officials said.


They administrative action was being taken to remove encroachments from about 10,000 square feet of land around the temple premises.

Media reports including in Deccan Herald stated that a temple priest present on the spot said prayers were offered to idols at the temple according to rituals and they were shifted to Kantafod temple.

After the tragedy last Thursday, an FIR had been lodged against Beleshwar Mahadev Jhulelal Temple Trust president Sevaram Galani and secretary Murli Kumar Sabnani under Indian Penal Code Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), Juni Indore police station in-charge Neeraj Meda said.

The two accused are facing charges that they had got an unsafe construction work done by putting a roof over the stepwell, due to which 36 people lost their lives, the official said. “The Indore Municipal Corporation had ordered the trust to remove the illegal construction at the temple complex, but the trust did not obey the order,” he said.

As many as 36 persons were killed when the floor of Beleshwar Mahadev Jhulelal Temple, built after covering a “bawdi” or stepwell in Patel Nagar area, caved in during Ram Navami on Thursday, hurtling devotees several feet below.

Following the incident on Ram Navmi, the administration had closed the main gate of the temple and the route to the stepwell by putting an iron sheet.

Meanwhile, the opposition Indian National Congress (INC) was quick to resoond. Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath on Saturday, April 1, alleged that illegal constructions carried out on the stepwell led to the Indore temple tragedy in which 36 people lost their lives. “This incident is a result of illegal constructions done on the stepwell, which has tarnished the image of Indore in the country and the world. If these illegal constructions are not removed within seven days, we will file a PIL in the high court to get them removed,” he told reporters.

Kamal Nath, a former chief minister of the state alleged that the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) did not remove the illegal constructions around the stepwell due to political pressure from the ruling BJP. “Indore is called a ‘smart city’, but the local administration did not have the necessary equipment to rescue the people who fell into the stepwell after the accident,” he said.

He said the Army was called in for the rescue operation only 12 hours after the mishap, but it was too late by then.


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