After making the victims of the terrible Uphaar tragedy wait for justice for eighteen long years, on 19th August 2015, the highest court in the land unjustly permitted the convicted Ansal brothers, Sushil and Gopal, to escape their prison sentence by paying a price of 60 crores to the Delhi Government, ostensibly for the construction of a trauma centre in Delhi NCR. The Ansals deposited Rs 30 crore each to the Chief Secretary, Delhi Government on 9th November 2015 and the same has been accepted.
In the nineteen years since June 13, 1997, we have been hoping to get justice from the judiciary all the while undergoing further stress and trauma. Sadly, the interests of the accused seem to be of greater importance than the interests of victims.
We believe that the message sent by this sentence is one that will prove to be dangerous for the safety and welfare of the citizens of this country, and more so for the residents of Delhi. Instead of imposing punitive measures on the convicts, the order actually gives convicts and criminals the option of paying a price for their freedom. By this logic the rich and powerful in the corporate sector who own most public spaces like multiplexes ,hospitals, shopping malls, schools could take hundreds of lives, secure in the knowledge that even if they are convicted, payment of a penalty of 1 crore per life taken will ensure that they can go scot-free. We have waited nineteen years for justice. But the Ansal brothers were able to walk free after just a few months in jail. With this judgement of the Supreme Court how do we ensure that no more lives are lost because of pure greed and recklessness?
Though the Supreme Court allowed an open court hearing of the Review Petition on 6th January 2016 it has still not been taken up or scheduled for hearing. Since the matter was not being listed, AVUT mentioned the matter in the court of Hon’ ble Chief Justice on 17th March 2016 for an early hearing. CJI assured the counsel appearing for AVUT that the review plea would be listed for hearing after the Holi vacation. As the matter was not listed after the Holi vacation AVUT mentioned the matter again on 19th April 2016. The court said it would consult the concerned judges of the bench and explore possibility of listing and hearing the plea during upcoming summer vacation. Unfortunately no orders have been passed.
We at AVUT sincerely hope that justice would be done so that there is a judicial closure for the victims’ families.
AVUT PRAYER MEET: 19th Death Anniversary of Uphaar Fire Victims
Monday, 13th June, 2016 AT 9 a.m.
VENUE: “SMRITI UPAVAN”- GREEN PARK EXTENSION, OPP.UPHAAR CINEMA.
For 19 long years the families of those who lost their precious lives in the Uphaar Cinema Fire have continued to perform Havan & Shanti Path for the peace of the departed souls. There can be no Peace without justice for our loved ones.
PRESIDENT – AVUT
STATUS OF VARIOUS PENDING CASES
Transfer Petition – Judgememt
An open letter to Delhi from the families of the 59.
On June 13, 1997 we sent our two children Ujjwal and Unnati to the movies at Uphaar Cinema in New Delhi. A few hours later, we brought their bodies home. The next day we performed their last rites. We were not alone. Fifty seven others lost their lives that day. They too, were innocent victims.
Eighteen long years have gone by as we – the families of the 59, have waited for justice. On the 19th of August, 2015, The Supreme Court of India finally confirmed that the owners of Uphaar Cinema, Sushil and Gopal Ansal, were responsible for these deaths and should serve the maximum sentence of two years rigorous imprisonment for their crime. However, after just 5 and 4 months in jail, the brothers were able to walk free by paying a small penalty, a drop in the ocean of their Rupees 900 crore business empire.
We have waited eighteen years for justice. But the Ansal brothers were able to walk away after just a few months in jail. Have any lessons been learnt? Has justice been served? How do we ensure that no more lives are lost because of pure greed and recklessness?
These are some of the questions we want to ask on September 12, the day we #RememberUphaar. Come join us at 5pm as we meet peacefully at Jantar Mantar to protest. Help us find justice for our loved ones and make our city safe again.
Let us know you are coming – tweet us at @Neelamshekhar or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are grateful and touched by hundreds of letters of support and to everyone who is spreading the word. You are creating a powerful movement for change. Come join us on September 12.
Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy
Parents of Unnati & Ujjwal
On behalf of the families of the 59