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Uphaar case: Delhi govt to seek legal opinion


New Delhi, Aug 21: Delhi Government on Friday said it will seek legal opinion on the demand of families of Uphaar fire tragedy victims to decline the Rs 60 crore ordered by the Supreme Court to be paid to it by the Ansals.

The Delhi Government's move comes after three members of the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT), met Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal here today.

File Photo: Uphaar Cinema in New Delhi in 1997.

During the 30-minute long meeting they requested the CM to decline Rs 60 crore ordered to be paid to it by Ansals and make stringent laws for punishment in man-made disasters.

"The government will take legal opinion on their demands to decline the Rs 60 crore order to be paid to Delhi govt by Ansals. It has accepted in principle the suggestion of Uphaar fire victims families to make a law for stringent punishment for man-made disasters," a senior Delhi government official said.

According to sources, the members also demanded that the government should not build a trauma centre for Uphaar tragedy victims using Ansal brothers' money.

"Delhi government has sufficient funds to build a trauma centre from its resources and will dedicate it to victims of Uphar tragedy. The CM asked the victims for their suggestions for name of the centre.

"The CM has also assured that the victims that Delhi government will offer to provide counsels for legal assistance to families of Uphaar victims, in their cases," the sources said.

Neelam Krishnamurthy, convener of AVUT, who lost both her children in the tragedy said, "I am pursuing one law from last six or seven years, where we have been dealing with such an epidemic where people died because of man's negligence. As the SC has not given any punishment, we want such a law comes where people are given at least 10-15 years of punishment. The CM has assured us that such laws will be framed".

"The CM has assured us support and said he is taking legal advice. It may be contempt of court. May be they refused because it is the verdict of SC. Second it may lead to constitutional breakdown. He is saying that he will take legal suggestion. In my opinion lets give time and see what happens," Krishnamurthy said.

Delhi Government sources said that Chief Minister has also assured that it will ensure implementation of fire and safety measures across the city.

Fifty-nine people, trapped in the balcony of the theatre in South Delhi, had died of asphyxia following the fire and over 100 were injured in the subsequent stampede on June 13, 1997 during the screening of Bollywood film "Border".

File Photo: Uphaar fire victims at AIIMS in New Delhi in 1997.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party had yesterday expressed deep disappointment over the Supreme Court verdict denying further jail term to Ansal brothers in the Uphaar tragedy case.

Verdict on Uphaar has deeply disappointed us. We feel that justice has not been done", AAP leader Ashutosh had said. The AAP party also said that the SC ruling on the Ansal brothers has raised several questions.


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