Thu. Jul 18th, 2024


Lets work together for a SAFE India


2 min read




Twenty-seven years ago, on the 13th of June 1997, the man-made Uphaar Cinema fire claimed the lives of 59 innocent people including 23 children. These precious lives were lost due to the complete lack of adherence to fire safety rules, and due to a distressing disregard for safety in public spaces.

AVUT’s endeavour for the past 27 years has been not only to get justice for our loved ones, but also to ensure implementation of   safety laws in public spaces so that no precious human lives are lost in the future.

Since the Uphaar tragedy took place, virtually no efforts have been made to enforce fire safety regulations in public spaces. As a result, millions of people who visit public spaces in India remain vulnerable and unsafe, with the possibility of tragedies of the same magnitude looming large. AVUT believes that it is vital that we ponder over and address these grave issues in order to make our lives safer.

India has witnessed many fire tragedies after Uphaar wherein thousands of lives have been lost and yet, fire safety does not receive any attention from the Government. It is a painful fact that after the Uphaar fire tragedy many precious lives have been lost in manmade tragedies in public spaces.

In the most recent major man-made tragedies, one in the TRP Gaming Zone, Rajkot and the other at Baby Care Hospital, New Delhi precious lives were lost because the owner/occupiers had violated every rule of the book with impunity.

There is rampant violation of fire safety measures in public spaces by the owners and occupiers. The perpetrators of such heinous crimes are often booked under section 304 A IPC  (Rash & negligent Act) which is a bailable offence. In such instances, they are shown leniency and given the opportunity to avoid adequate punishment, despite having willfully neglected to follow safety rules.

It is for the Government to bring in a new legislation to deal with man –made disasters and set up “Fast Track Courts” to expedite such cases, so that the perpetrators are punished swiftly and in accordance with law. This will send a strong signal to the owners and occupiers of public spaces like multiplexes, malls, educational institutions, hospitals etc.  not to violate fire safety laws endangering human lives. Those aiding and abetting perpetrators of such crimes, either by looking away when rules are flouted, or by providing permissions and licenses illegally, or by being partial to the accused, must also be punished duly.

AVUT has fought valiantly for accountability and safety in public spaces. Despite this, are public spaces safe today? “ FIRE SAFETY MATTERS”


Neelam Krishnamoorthy



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