justice delayed for UPHAAR VICTIMSOn June 13th, 1997, during the first day of matinee show of the blockbuster Hindi film BORDER, a fire spread due to faulty transformer which snuffled 59 lives. Fourteen years later families of 59 persons who lost their lives still await justice. An emotional prayer meeting was held outside the now sealed movie hall in south Delhi’s Yusuf Sarai by the Association of the Victims of the Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) on the occasion of the tragedy’s fourteenth anniversary.

AVUT President Neelam Krishnamoorthy, who lost two children in the tradegy opined that a struggle to ensure safety in public spaces and create accountability still remains a distant dream.

The Supreme Court is set to hear, on July 27th, a petition filed by the victim’s families seeking enhancement of a mere ‘one year’ jail term given to the cinema hall owners and business tycoons Gopal Ansal and Sushil Ansal by the Delhi High Court on December 19, 2009. Both of them are out on bail.

The most upsetting part was where the Ansal brothers were slammed by the High Court for not ensuring the safety of cinegoers and completely disregarding corporate social responsibility but eventually reducing the already light sentence of two years to ONE YEAR!

With reference to the Bhopal Gas tragedy Krishnamoorthy further added that in July, 2009 the AVUT petitioned the President, Congress President and the Law Minister proposing legislation to prevent man-made tragedies in public places. For over two years, the matter has been pending.

Report by Sumit