Temple tragedy: Citizens rush to rescue the trapped victims

Even Fire and Police personnel arrived on the spot immediately
Last Updated 16 September 2014, 20:11 IST

While two lives were lost as a giant peepul tree collapsed at Kote Maramma temple close to Palace premises in the city, a few ordinary citizens were the first to rush to the aid of persons stuck inside the temple.

Dileep Kumar, a KSRTC conductor cum driver was among the first to assist the people caught amidst the rubble of the destroyed temple. Speaking to Deccan Herald, he said that the incident occurred at around 2.50 pm.

Dileep had just prostrated before Kote Maramma from outside the gate of the temple, when he saw the tree collapse on the small temple. “As soon as the tree collapsed, we heard cries from women who were inside the temple, praying. Even though many people rushed to the rescue, somebody warned us against entering, as there was a live wire lying around,” he said.

“However, one person did not heed to the warning and rushed to rescue the people. He was soon followed by me and three other tourists. We were able to rescue three women, including a child. Another old woman was caught in the rubble, making it difficult for us to remove her. With some difficulty, we succeeded in freeing her from the rubble,” he said.  However, Susheelamma, breathed her last while being rushed to the hospital.

Rescue efforts
Fire and Emergency services and police personnel too were quick arrive at the scene. One fire fighter, Karthik Urs A N, suffered injuries on his arm during the rescue operation.

Kavitha and Vijay, both relatives of Susheelamma were at the scene, searching for one other person who was at the temple. While Kavitha was inconsolable, Vijay explained that they couldn’t find her sister-in-law, who was at the temple. “Shailaja had come along with Susheelamma for the temple. We have checked the hospital and she was not there,” he said. His suspicions that Shailaja was still under the rubble came true, as Shailaja’s body was removed from the rubble at around 4.45 am.

According to Vijay, the temple was being managed by the family of Topi Manchanayaka Yajamana for generations. “It was the turn of Susheelamma to offer prayers at the temple this week,” Vijay said. However, the uprooted tree resulted in a tragedy for the family, who lost two of their kin in a single day.

‘Prune trees’
Elected representatives of Mysore City Corporation who arrived at the venue, said that the Corporation had identified several trees, which posed a risk to the pedestrians to be cut down or pruned. “Even though such a proposal was put forth in 2010-11, it was immediately opposed by environmentalists, who approached court regarding the issue,” said Sandesh Swamy, JD(S) corporator.

We had identified such trees in all 65 wards of MCC limits and had even planted 60,000 saplings. But, nothing came of it, he added.

Similar views were echoed by Congress corporator, Ayub Khan and other elected representatives.

A large number of people gathered at the venue, following the incident, hampering the rescue operations. Police personnel resorted to mild caning to control the unruly crowd.

(Published 16 September 2014, 20:11 IST)

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