The kins of people who lost their lives in the fire believes that justice was still denied to them.
New Delhi: Around two decades ago, on this day, over 59 people lost their lives when a massive blaze had broken out in Uphaar Cinema. The kins of people who lost their lives in the fire believes that justice was still denied to them.
On June 13, 1997, halfway through the screening of Hindi film Border, a fire broke out in Uphaar Cinema, situated in Green Park area, in which 59 people died of asphyxia, while over 100 others were injured in the ensuing stampede. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court had directed Gopal Ansal, the owner of the theatre, to serve a year’s jail term while his elder brother, Sushil Ansal, got relief from incarceration with prison term already undergone by him.
Neelam Krishnamo-orthy, who had lost her two teenage children in the incident 20 years ago, described the judgement as a “travesty of justice”. Krishnamoorthy, also convenor of Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT), said it will set a “bad precedent” and “embolden” other big firms to flout safety norms for profit.
“The verdict is certain to go down in the history as a travesty of justice. Such a judgement will only embolden the owners of public spaces to violate safety rules and compromise on safety, with no thought of endangering human lives,” she said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the home ministry is examining a mercy petition of realty baron Gopal Ansal, who was convicted in the case, and has sought opinion of the ministries concerned before conveying its decision to the President.
“We are shocked that the ministry has bothered to entertain such a petition. We trust that our hopes will not be dashed further,” she added. With the case dragging for 10 years, AVUT had in 2007 approached the Delhi high court seeking conclusion of trial within a time frame, which had, after a few months, convicted all 12 accused, including Sushil and Gopal Ansal, in the case and sentenced them to two years’ imprisonment.