In a tragic incident, at least 35 people lost their lives after falling into a well while offering prayers at a temple in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The incident took place on Thursday during a prayer ceremony organized at Beleshwar Mahadev Jhulelal temple in Indore city.
A large crowd of devotees were standing on a concrete slab covering the well which collapsed under their weight, plunging dozens of people into the almost 40ft (12m) deep well. Fourteen people were rescued, and one person is still missing.
A team of 75 personnel, including those from the state and national disaster response forces, are engaged in rescue efforts. Senior official Illayaraja T told ANI news channel that 18 people were admitted to the hospital after being rescued, and two people have been discharged so far. A search operation is still underway to find the missing person.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced a compensation of 500,000 rupees ($6000; £4900) to the kin of the deceased and 50,000 rupees to the injured. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also announced a compensation of 200,000 rupees for the victims’ families.
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Expressing his grief, Prime Minister Modi said he was “extremely pained by the mishap”. The incident took place on the occasion of Hindu festival of Ram Navami, and many politicians and public figures have expressed their condolences to the victims’ families.
The temple was constructed after the well had been covered about four decades ago, according to local media reports.
This tragedy has shocked the entire nation, and the government is taking all necessary measures to ensure the safety of the people during such religious events in the future.