The tragic incident at the Indore temple last week left a deep impact on the community, especially in a particular lane where 11 of the victims lived. The funeral ceremonies were unbearable for the relatives of the deceased, with one person from almost every house losing their life. Although the Patel community, to which the 11 victims belonged, has had deep roots with the temple for over five decades, many are uncertain about the demolition of the newly constructed temple adjacent to the old one.
Residents in the neighborhood recall receiving water from the well inside the old temple in the 1970s. However, the well had to be shut down in the 1980s due to an increase in suicide attempts. Laxmikant Patel, a former secretary of the temple trust and a timber businessman, lost four of his family members, including his wife and aunts, in the recent incident. He shared that his mother used to visit the temple regularly, and after her demise, they started a Bhandara next to the temple in her memory.
The Indore Municipal Corporation demolished the new structure that was being built by members of the local Sindhi and Patel communities. The civic body had sent a notice to the temple trust last year, following a complaint from residents. However, the trust argued that any attempt to curb construction would disrupt religious harmony.
After the tragedy, the police booked two members of the temple trust. The demolition is part of a drive to demolish illegal structures constructed over wells, confirmed by the Indore collector.
Members of the Patel community tried reaching out to the ruling BJP to prevent the demolition, but their efforts were in vain. They have now decided to build the temple again legally. Despite the unfortunate event, some families donated their loved one’s corneas, enabling several people to see for the first time in their lives.
Kaushal Patel, who lost his wife Kanak in the incident, donated her corneas, along with the corneas of three other victims. Laxmikant Patel also agreed to donate his wife’s corneas. The families left behind are trying their best to overcome their grief and move on.