India temple collapse death toll climbs to 35
New Delhi, Mar 31 (EFE).- The number of people killed after the floor of a Hindu temple in central India’s Madhya Pradesh state collapsed, throwing dozens of Hindu devotees into a deep step-well during a festival, rose to 35 on Friday.
“35 people have died” so far, according to the federal and state disaster response teams and the army, Ilayaraja T, an official from the city of Indore, where the accident took place, told reporters.
The official added that at least one person was missing and rescue operations were still underway.
The incident occurred on Thursday as devotees were celebrating the birthday of Hindu lord Rama at the Beleshwar Mahadev temple.
“Since the well has collapsed and there was also water in the well, people have also died due to drowning,” Ilayaraja T said.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan told the media on Thursday that the roof of the stepwell collapsed due to excess weight.
He said that he had ordered an investigation into the incident.
He also announced a financial compensation of 500,000 rupees ($6,060) for the victims’ families and 50,000 rupees for the injured in addition to free medical treatment.
Stampedes during religious celebrations are common in India due to huge crowds and a lack of security measures to control the mobs.
At least three people died and four others were injured on Aug. 8 in a stampede during a celebration at a Hindu temple located in a village in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan.
At least 12 people died in a stampede at a Hindu temple in the northern Kashmir region in January last year.
One of the worst such tragedies took place on Jan.25, 2005, when at least 258 people were killed during a Hindu pilgrimage in the western state of Maharashtra. EFE