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Victims' kin frustrated over Ansals not being sent to jail
November 23, 2007 20:52 IST
As the Ansal brothers, owners of Uphaar theatre, walked out of court on Friday, several family members of the 10-year-old fire tragedy victims looked on in frustration.
They had waited for almost a decade to see the theatre owners behind bars. But this did not happen, as the Ansal brothers got bail immediately after a court in New Delhi sentenced them to two years' imprisonment.
"It is very painful to see the Ansals walking out," said Neelam Krishnamurthy, reflecting the mood among a large section of family members of the 59 victims.
While many victims' family members felt the theatre owners had been let off without a strict punishment, others, who were in a minority, expressed satisfaction that a least seven convicts were handed jail terms by the court.
Krishnamurthy, who heads the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy, said "For 10 years, we have worked hard and attended thousands of hearings. We will go to the High Court for a stricter punishment to the Ansals."
However, the AVUT expressed satisfaction that seven convicts were sent to jail for seven years each.
Neelu Kapoor, mother of Rubi Kapoor, a 20-year-old victim, said the fact that seven convicts were taken into custody had, to some extent, reaffirmed their faith in the judiciary.
"My daughter was a BA final year sociology student. The result came after her death. The convicts should have got harsher punishment," She said.
Naveen Sahni, who lost her daughter Tarika Sahni in the fire that engulfed Uphaar theatre on June 13 1997, said the credit for the punishment to the guilty went to Neelam and her husband Shekhar Krishnamurthy, who united all the victims' families for a fight for justice.
"They have got maximum sentence under the (penal) provisions, so I am satisfied," he said.
Vikas, whose father had died in the incident, said, "It would have been better if all of them would have been taken into custody...I am finally satisfied but for the fact that Ansals got off lightly."