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Uphaar fire victims` kin seek tough law for man-made tragedies

Last Updated: Sunday, June 13, 2010 - 21:39

New Delhi: Kin of Uphaar cinema hall fire
tragedy victims Sunday held a prayer meet here to commemorate
the death of 59 people in the incident 13 years ago and
demanded a tough legislation to deal with man-made tragedies
like the Bhopal gas leak.

The Association of Victims of the Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT),
which is fighting a legal battle in the matter, said it
received a letter last year from Law Minister Veerappa Moily
informing the body that he has asked the Law Commission to
propose new legislation to prevent such tragedies.

"We at AVUT appeal to our policy makers to implement
stringent laws to bring in deterrents and avert man-made
tragedies so that precious human lives are not lost," Neelam
Kirshnamoorthy, president AVUT said.

In July 2009, AVUT had given a petition to the President
Pratibha Patil, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Minister for
Law and Justice Moily for proposing a legislation to deal with
any man-made tragedies in public places, she said.

"The recent fire at Bangalore and Kolkata and the June 7
judgment in the Bhopal gas tragedy have proved over and over
again that for our policy makers and decision makers, human
life is of little value," she alleged.

Krishnamoorthy herself lost her two children in the
inferno that engulfed Uphaar theatre on June 13, 1997 here
during the screening of blockbuster Hindi film `Border`.

She said the offenders in such crimes are often booked
for causing death due to rash and negligent acts which is a
bailable offence.

"The need of the hour is to have appropriate legislation
to tackle such man-made tragedies and put in place judicial
mechanisms that force offenders to think twice before
indulging in acts of omission and commission that can endanger
human life," she said.

She expressed disappointment with the judgement of the
Delhi High Court in the criminal appeal in which the sentence
of the accused in the case were reduced.

The Delhi High Court had on December 19 last year
sentenced accused Sushil Ansal, Gopal Ansal and H S Panwar, a
former Delhi Fire Service staff to one-year prison term. Three
others -- gate keeper Manmohan Unniyal, Delhi Vidyut Board
employees Brij Mohan Satija and Bir Singh -- were awarded
two-year jail term.

The appeal against the High Court`s judgement is pending
in the Supreme Court.


First Published: Sunday, June 13, 2010 - 21:39

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