Illegal Constructions On Stepwell Led To Indore Temple TragedyApr 1, 2023 | Pratirodh Bureau
Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath on Saturday alleged that illegal constructions carried out on the stepwell led to the Indore temple tragedy in which 36 people lost their lives.
The local civic body did not pull down the unauthorised constructions on the stepwell due to pressure from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he claimed and threatened to file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Madhya Pradesh High Court if these constructions were not removed within seven days.
Nath, who visited the accident site of Beleshwar Mahadev Jhulelal temple in Patel Nagar, said if the Congress is voted to power in the upcoming state assembly polls, his party-led government will enact a law for mandatory security audit of public places in the state.
The Congress leader also visited the private hospital, where those injured in the incident are undergoing treatment, to enquire about their health.
Thirty-six persons, including 21 women and two children, died after the floor of the temple, built over the stepwell, caved in on Thursday. A ‘havan’ (fire ritual) was going on at the place on the occasion of Ram Navami when the mishap occurred.
After the accident, the administration has closed the main gate of the temple and the route to the stepwell by putting up an iron sheet.
“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.
The former Madhya Pradesh chief minister 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 12 hours after the mishap, but it was too late by then.
On Friday, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan paid a visit to the hospital to know the condition of the injured, and also went to the site of the tragedy. Talking about it, Nath said CM Chouhan’s visit was just a “show-off” and formality. Chouhan failed to ease the pain of the victims’ relatives, he alleged.
Nath said that if Congress is voted to power in the state assembly elections due by the year-end, the government led by his party will enact a law for mandatory security audit of public places in the state and a Rapid Rescue Force will be formed to deal with accidents in major cities.
Meanwhile, in other news, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday asserted communal tensions during Ram Navami festivities at Sasaram and Bihar Sharif towns were triggered by some people indulging in “gadbad” (mischief) and rejected the BJP’s charge that it indicated poor law and order situation in the state.
Interacting with media persons, Kumar also made light of Union Home Minister Amit Shah canceling his tour of Sasaram because of the riots, remarking, “I don’t know why he was coming and I don’t understand why he decided not to come.”
“Communal tensions during Ram Navami festivities at Sasaram and Bihar Sharif are disturbing. Such incidents happened for the first time in the area. It’s not natural. We know that some people are indulging in “gadbad” (mischief) and are trying to disrupt communal harmony in the state. We will not allow this to happen,” the chief minister said.
The Bihar police have so far arrested 45 people in connection with the communal riots. Vehicles, houses and shops were torched and several people injured in communal flare-ups reported in both towns.