Narrow escape for Parsi priests, their families


February 19, 2008



It was sheer luck that saved three Parsi priests and their family members when the earth caved in the adjoining land where construction work was in progress on Thursday killing a labourer.

The roof and walls of the decades-old priests’ quarters have developed cracks due to the incident.

Moreover, a portion of the quarters is facing the threat of collapse as the soil below the foundation stone has caved in due to construction taken up by A.H. Ansari, the owner of the neighbouring site.

Senior priest J.P. Unvalla, priests, Kurush Dastur and Bomi Vajafdar, and their family members have been staying in the quarters from decades. Thursday’s incident has left them in a shock and they said only luck and providence had saved them from harm.

They were relieved that the main temple building itself is safe as it is a few metres away from the construction site where the accident took place.

The room occupied by Mr. Unvalla has developed cracks on the roof and the wall.

As a precautionary measure, the Bangalore Parsi Zoroastrian Anjuman, which is managing the Parsi Fire Temple — Agiary — and its quarters built during 1920s, is now shifting the priests and their families to a guesthouse.

Shereyar D. Vakil, honorary secretary of the Anjuman, and M. Marker, a trustee, blamed Mr. Ansari for the accident saying the excavation for his proposed building stretched all the way to the foundation of the priests’ quarters.

A portion of the quarters might fall in case of rain as the soil under the foundation of their building partially caved in on Thursday, they said.

Mr. Vakil alleged that Mr. Ansari had not taken a no-objection certificate from them for the construction and had failed to take precautionary measures to protect the property belonging to the Parsi temple.