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Delhi: Uphaar tragedy victims' kin want justice
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | June 13, 2007 16:04 IST
Uphaar victims families gathered outside the cinema house in south Delhi that claimed 59 of their loved ones' lives in a fire that raged for hours.
The families have only one mission in life. To ensure that those who were responsible for negligence, particularly the cinema management, the local fire service which gave fire clearance and the police officers who gave Uphaar cinema licence to put in additional seats, are brought to justice.
"From June 13, 1997, to June 13, 2007, it has been a long journey. Ten years ago we were grieving for our loved ones. Today we are fighting for justice no matter how much it costs us," said Shekhar Krishnamurthy.
He and his wife Neelam have been spearheading the movement for justice for the Uphaar victims along with 27 other families.
"In 2002, the Delhi high court had directed the trial court to complete the hearing and give its verdict. But nothing happened. Now, we have got a simiar order this year. I don't know what will happen, but we will be meeting here again next year to carry on our fight for justice," Shekhar said.
Although other families do not speak much, but like Shekhar and Neelam they too are determined to continue the fight for justice till the Ansals, the family that owned the theatre, are sentenced. Out of 16 accused persons, four have already died.
Interestingly, court official Dinesh Chander Sharma, who has been chargesheeted for removing critical evidence from the court records to show that one of the Ansals had nothing to do with the management of the cinema, could be held accountable for what happened on the fateful evening.
The documents removed by Sharma, included cheques signed by Gopal and Sushil Ansal and records of meetings that they had attended with various government bodies in connection with day-to-day running of cinema till 1997.
The Ansals now claim that they had ceased to be on the board of directors from 1988 onwards.
Returning favour to Dinesh for what he did for them, the Ansals are now bearing the expenses of the school fees for Sharma's children and they have got him employment in a security firm called A plus.