Two civic officials, meanwhile, were suspended and the office-bearers of the temple trust booked for culpable homicide.
Twenty-one of those killed were women. There were three children among the dead, including a one-and-ahalf-year-old boy whose parents could only watch in horror as he plunged into the well just inches away from them. His body was among the last to be found as the dead were stacked on top of each other in the 50-foot-deep well.
CM faces anger of grieving families
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Friday met the families of those who died in the temple stepwell tragedy but ran into a wave of anger and anguish.
The bereaved families demanded answers, and the CM promised that action would be taken against those responsible for the incident.
TOI had reported on Friday how Indore Municipal Corporation had ordered removal of the slab in January, warning that it was dangerous, but had to backtrack in the face of opposition as it would ‘hurt religious sentiments’.
The poorly constructed platform on the 20-ft diameter stepwell at Shri Beleshwar Mahadev Jhulelal temple caved in on Thursday, killing 36 devotees who had gathered for havan on Ram Navami.
Expressing grief over the tragedy, the CM said that a magisterial probe has been ordered and police have registered a case. “Action will be taken on the basis of the investigation report,” he said.
The chief minister met the injured at the hospital and promised all possible help from the government to the families. Of the 18 people rescued, 16 are being treated for various injuries, including fractures. The government will bear their medical expenses.
Chouhan met the relatives of victims, and came face to face with an angry, grief-stricken crowd. Tension heated up in the dharamshala where the meeting was scheduled, and there was sloganeering as Chouhan walked out.
MLA Akash Vijayvargiya tried to placate the relatives but in vain. The relatives and local residents questioned the manner in which the rescue operation was carried out before the Army arrived.
“More lives could have been saved,” said a relative, breaking down in tears.
Indore temple stepwell collapse incident: MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan meets injured persons