Uphaar Theatre Tragedy: SC Fine-Rs.60 Crore; Lives Lost-59
In the Uphaar theatre tragedy that took place 18 years ago, 59 people died due to fire. Theatre owners, Ansal Brothers were able to escape imprisonment. Supreme Court on Wednesday penalized Susheel Ansal and Gopal Ansal Rs.60 crore, after which they are free. Court ordered each of the brothers to deposit Rs.30 crore within next 3 months.
On 13th june, 1997, due to fire, 59 people watching movie in Uphaar cinema theatre were put to death and 100 others were severely injured. Hindi film Border was being shown in the theatre at that time. Due to stampede that was noticed soon after flames rose was the reason for the tragedy. Delhi Court declared Susheel Ansal and Gopal Ansal as accused and awarded imprisonment for two years to them. Challenging this verdict, Ansal brothers approached Supreme Court and filed a petition.
At the same time, families of victims in Uphaar cinema tragedy also approached the apex court. Government then handed the case over to CBI. While Delhi Court reduced their imprisonment to one year, Supreme Court conducted hearing on this on Wednesday. That was when the SC ordered that fine of Rs.30 crore has to be paid by each of them and they need not be sent to jail.
When a parent named Neelam Krishnamurthy who lost her two kids in the Uphaar tragedy spoke after verdict is delivered, she said, “Eighteen years ago, I lost faith in God and today, I lost faith in the judiciary. I am disappointed and disgusted. Money power augurs so well with the institutions that the death of 59 persons becomes a mere statistic”.