20 years of Uphaar tragedy: A desolate hall, burnt seats and dusty film rolls remain| In pics
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20 years of Uphaar tragedy: A desolate hall, burnt seats and dusty film rolls remain| In pics

The incident dates back to June 13, 1997 when a fire broke out at Uphaar Cinema in Delhi’s Green Park. HT has exclusive images of a tragedy frozen in time.

delhi Updated: Jun 14, 2017 18:00 IST
Burhaan Kinu
Burhaan Kinu
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Uphaar Cinemas,Uphaar cinema tragedy,20 years of Uphaar tragedy
Dilapidated seats inside Uphaar Cinema hall in south Delhi’s Green Park. The building remained sealed for 20 years.(Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO )

It was on June 13, 1997, the Bollywood blockbuster ‘Border’ was screening inside Uphaar Cinema in south Delhi’s Greenpark when a fire broke out halfway through the movie. The fire claimed the lives of 59 people and over 100 were injured due to suffocation in the ensuing stampede.

Twenty years have gone by since the tragedy. But inside the ill-fated cinema hall, time has stood still. Burnt seats, Pepsi bottles and dusty film rolls lie scattered across floor, bearing witness to the fire that engulfed the hall two decades ago.

HT has exclusive images of the remains inside Uphaar Cinema whose curtains came down on that fateful summer day.

The remains inside Uphaar Cinema hall after twenty years of the tragedy. A stampede ensued the fire as escape routes were blocked by extra chairs which were fixed illegally. (Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)
Damaged cars within the Uphaar Cinema complex. As cars parked on the ground floor caught fire, thick smoke entered the auditorium. Those on the first floor of the hall escaped but for those in the balcony area, there was no exit. (Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)
The cinema hall today is littered with shoes, bottles, fire-blackened seats, vehicles and debris from 20 years ago. (Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)
A dust-coated shoe inside the hall. In the ensuing legal battle, twelve accused people were convicted including theatre owners Sushil and Gopal Ansal. (Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)
A handbag among the rubble. The cinema hall was constructed in 1973. A transformer had caught fire, which spread to the parking lot, leading to the smoke in the auditorium. (Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)
Many among the dead were kids as young as four years old. Three weeks after the fire, 28 families came together to form the Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy, to fight for justice. (Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)
Police found bodies inside the toilet next to the balcony. A board of doctors from AIIMS said the deaths were caused by asphyxia as a result of inhaling carbon monoxide and other toxic gases. (Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)

First Published: Jun 14, 2017 09:31 IST