Families of Uphaar fire victims appeal to President for rigid laws

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New Delhi, July 10 (ANI): Members of the Association of Uphaar Tragedy Victims (AUTV) called on President Pratibha Devisingh Patil at New Delhi on Friday.

They submitted a petition to the President demanding a suitable legislation, which would enable stringent laws to punish the offenders responsible for man-made tragedies in public places.

It may be recalled that an inferno at Upahaar cinema in New Delhi resulted in the death of 59 moviegoers during the matinee show on the first day of the release of a Hindi movie titled "Border" on June 13, 1997.

Since then the family members of the victims under the auspices of AUTV have crusaded for justice and punishment to the owners of the cinema hall and others who were found guilty in the course of investigating the cause and aftermath of the fire.

Briefing the media persons after the meeting, Neelam Krishnamoorthy, President of AUTV mentioned that the President of India was apprised how offenders of tragedies like the Uphaar inferno are often booked for causing death due to rash and a negligent act and yet go scot free.

She also noted that the offence being bailable, the accused take it lightly as such stringent laws should be enacted whereby none will dare to break the obligatory rules pertaining to public places.

"There should be a stringent and a single law which should be enforced so that people who are the owners of these (public) places will have some definite effect. The punishment should be such it should be a very stringent punishment with heavy penalties," said Krishnamoorthy.

Members of the AUTV have resolved that they would fight for enhancing the punishment meted out to the accused since the quantum of sentence (jail term) awarded to them was not sufficient.

In November 2007, a Delhi court convicted all the 12 accused, including the real estate tycoons and owners of the theatre, Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal, after finding them guilty of gross negligence.

Later, appealing before the High Court, the Ansal brothers, who were initially given two years jail term by the lower court had the sentence reduced to one year with the judges of the High Court contending they were respectable citizens and they had no criminal record. (ANI)

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