12 dead in Indore temple as stepwell roof collapses, many still trapped



Twelve people have died after falling into a temple’s stepwell in Indore, Madhya Pradesh on Thursday during Ram Navami celebrations.

The accident happened at the Beleshwar Ma-hadev Jhulelal Temple in the city’s Patel Nagar area, when the shrine was bursting with devotees.

Many people, among them women and children, were sitting on the stepwell’s roof when it collapsed taking them all down.

Nearly 20 people were rescued till early Thurs-day evening, though some were still trapped inside.

“We have recovered eight bodies and rescued nearly a dozen,” police official Manish Kapooriya told AFP, adding that rescue efforts were still ongo-ing.

Television footage showed emergency workers using ropes and ladders to reach those trapped in the well in Madhya Pradesh state.

Other videos showed the caved-in floor and mangled steel bars, and policemen using ropes to seal the area.

Temple authorities had stopped using the well years ago and covered it with the structure.

Witnesses said a large crowd of devotees had thronged the temple to perform a fire ritual and celebrate the Hindu festival.

Building collapses are common in India because of poor construction and a failure to observe regula-tions.

In October, a century-old cable suspension bridge collapsed into a river in the western state of Gujarat, sending hundreds of people plunging into the water and killing at least 132 in one of the worst accidents in the country in the past decade.

Temples across India were brimming with devo-tees on the occasion of Ram Navami, the birthday of the Hindu deity Lord Ram.—AFP