Nineteen years have passed since a tragic fire in Uphaar Cinema in South Delhi engulfed 59 people but families of the victims said they are still awaiting justice.
On June 13, 1997, halfway through the screening of Hindi film ‘Border’, a fire engulfed Uphaar Cinema, situated in south Delhi’s Green Park area. Fifty-nine people were killed because of asphyxiation while over 100 were injured in the fire and the ensuing stampede.
“We have been waiting for some sort of closure for 19 years but still far away from justice,” said Neelam Krishnamoorthy, President of President Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT).
A trial court had sentenced the Uphaar owners — the Ansal brothers — to two-year rigorous imprisonment, in 2007. However, an year later the Delhi High Court reduced the sentence to one year.
The Supreme Court upheld their conviction in the case in 2015 but considering their age and the period already spent by them in prison, it decided not to send them back to jail and rather asked the duo to pay a fine of Rs 30 crore each in lieu of a jail term.
“We were taken aback by the Supreme Court’s judgement with theatre owners Sushil and Gopal Ansal being let off the hook with a fine of Rs 60 crore and now we are waiting for hearing of our review petition,” Krishnamoorthy said.