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HindustanTimes Sat,25 Oct 2014

Uphaar victims' kin disappointed over conviction

IANS  New Delhi, November 20, 2007
First Published: 14:33 IST(20/11/2007) | Last Updated: 14:38 IST(20/11/2007)

They waited for justice for over a decade but the 28 families who lost their dear ones in the Uphaar cinema fire tragedy in New Delhi were disappointed when the accused were convicted on Tuesday for charges carrying only two years in jail.

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"We are not satisfied as the Ansal brothers (Gopal and Sushil) are convicted only under Section 304-A (causing death due to negligence act) and will face a maximum punishment of two years in jail. We have not fought for 10 long years to bargain for mere two years imprisonment," said Naveen Krishanmurthy, who lost both his children in the tragedy -- Unnai, 20, and Ujjwal 13.

"It is highly disappointing that they were not charged under Section 304 -- culpable homicide not amounting to murder -- that means a maximum 10 years of imprisonment, when there was enough evidence. It was very clear that the Ansals had ample knowledge of (fire prevention) rules being flouted to get necessary clearances," Krishanmurthy added.

Krishanmurthy's wife Neelam said: "It's a travesty of justice. It means that you kill 100 people and go scot-free with only two years' imprisonment. But if you murder one you get life imprisonment.

"What kind of laws do we have? If you kill an animal you get five years of imprisonment but killing 59 people fetches you just two years' punishment. We are not happy at all," she told reporters, adding that the association of the victims' families was not losing hope for justice and will approach the Delhi High Court.

A Delhi court on Tuesday convicted building tycoons Sushil and Gopal Ansal and 10 others for their role in the Uphaar cinema fire tragedy on June 13, 1997.

The sentencing will be read out Wednesday. The victims' families will face another sleepless night.

"I have been waiting for the past 10 years, five months and eight days to get justice. Our children will only rest in peace when the Ansal brothers get life imprisonment," said Durgadas, who had lost his son in the tragedy.

Vikas, who lost his father, said: "We are happy but not satisfied. My father was the sole breadwinner for my family. We want complete justice."

"There is some solace today but we were expecting a tough punishment," said Tarika Sharma, who lost both her daughters.

The other victims' families said the same.


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