Topalayya and his wife, Sarasamma, had come from Mandya to visit their daughter in Vasanthpura for the Ganesh festival on Sunday little knowing what was in store for them. On Monday, a hapless Topalayya (63), and his four-year-old granddaughter, Shreya, were killed when the compound wall of the ISKCON temple on Kanakapura Road collapsed, flattening their house.
Son-in-law Swamivelu and Sarasamma suffered injuries. Their neighbour, Chengirayappa, too was killed when his house came under the collapsing wall. The wall is part of the ISKCON temple under construction, adjoining the Vasanthapura slum.
Dhanalakshmi, Topalayya’s daughter, is married to Swamivelu, a painter, and they have three children. Shreya was the second child.
“Shreya had not even started school. She and my father had finished lunch and went to the room for a nap. The wall collapsed killing both of them,” Ms. Dhanalakshmi said. While her mother sustained minor injuries, Swamivelu was admitted to Victoria Hospital. The health condition of both of them is stable. Meanwhile, the bodies of the deceased were taken to their native village in Mandya on Tuesday.
Swamivelu’s cousin, Muniraju, who lives in an extended section of the same house, said they had all been living in the slum for more than 15 years, even before the temple construction began. “Mud was piled up on the other side putting pressure on the wall. The heavy rains must have added to the pressure,” he said, suspecting this could have led to the collapse.
Another family hit
The third victim, Chengirappa (35), was with his only son Lakshmikant (2) when the wall flattened his house leaving him with no chance of survival. The toddler, Lakshmikant, had a miraculous escape. He was stuck in the debris for a long time until he was rescued by police, and Fire and Emergency Services personnel with the help of local residents.
Mani, who helped rescue the two-year-old, said: “It took at least an hour for us to rescue Lakshmikant. The lower part of his body was stuck under the debris and it was extremely difficult to extricate him.” The toddler was weak with exhaustion and was given water even as the rescue team tried to manoeuvre him out of the debris. He has been admitted to BGS Hospital.