Uphar Tragedy - Where Is The Justice?
"That day I lost my faith in God and Today I lost my faith in Indian Judiciary"
- Neelam Krishnamoorthy (lost two children in Uphar Tragedy)
These words are echoing with me as a failure of our judicial system since the time I heard them on TV from Neelam Krishnamoorthy who lost her children a girl and a boy in 1997 Delhi's Uphar cinema fire. She said that she spent more time in court battle for justice than she spent with her kids who were only 17 and 13 at the time of tragedy. She added that if rich people killed your children than forget about justice in this country and I didn't find any example to counter her statement.
On June 13, 1997 a transformer caught fire during matinee show (3 to 6 show) of the movie Border in which 59 people died of asphyxia and more than 100 were injured. The owner of the theater Gopal and Sushil Ansal were booked for negligence and other charges and granted two years imprisonment by a lower court which reduced to one year by the high court and ruled out by supreme court over a penalty of Rs 60 crore to the Delhi government. More than a crore for each 59 lives lost.
The Ansal brothers in order to make more profit have blocked the emergency gates of the hall with more seats. There were no fire extinguishers and gates were closed when fire broke out in the hall to let people die of asphyxia. Injured were never cared by them and they were arrested only after pressure from people and media but soon released on bail. We always hails the fairness of our judicial system and their commitment in providing equality in justice but when the criminals were rich, influential and powerful this fairness and commitment took a back seat.
Is this amount of 60 crore a price for the lost lives? How penalty served the justice in this case? It is difficult to understand the pain of defeat in 18 years long battle of victim's relatives. No one is really bothered about the justice now except these relatives. Most of us who were kids at that time hardly have any memories of that incident to flush out our angers on social sites or those who remembered don't want to do anything not even share their views about it.