In pics | Uphaar cinema fire: The tragedy that claimed 59 lives

The tragedy dates back to June 13, 1997 when a fire broke out at Uphaar Cinema in Delhi’s Green Park area during the screening of Bollywood blockbuster ‘Border’.
Authorities douse the fire at Uphaar Cinema in Delhi.(Prakash Singh/HT File Photo)
Authorities douse the fire at Uphaar Cinema in Delhi.(Prakash Singh/HT File Photo)
Updated on Feb 09, 2017 04:00 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByHT Correspondent, New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Thursday awarded one year imprisonment for real estate builder Gopal Ansal who with his elder brother, Sushil, owned a south Delhi cinema hall where a fire killed 59 people 20 years ago.

The tragedy dates back to June 13, 1997 when a fire broke out at Uphaar Cinema in Delhi’s Green Park area during the screening of Bollywood blockbuster ‘Border’. Fifty nine people died and over 100 were injured due to suffocation in the ensuing stampede as the escape routes were blocked by illegally-fixed extra chairs.

People pay their respect at the site of Uphaar fire three years after the incident. (S Burmaula/HT File Photo)
People pay their respect at the site of Uphaar fire three years after the incident. (S Burmaula/HT File Photo)
Rescue operation at the Uphaar theatre where a fire broke out in 1997. (HT File Photo)
Rescue operation at the Uphaar theatre where a fire broke out in 1997. (HT File Photo)
A view of the Uphaar cinema after the fire broke out. (Arun Jetlie/HT File Photo)
A view of the Uphaar cinema after the fire broke out. (Arun Jetlie/HT File Photo)
(Mayank Austen/HT File Photo)
(Mayank Austen/HT File Photo)
A desolate view of the cinema years after it was gutted in a fire. (Arun Jetlie/HT File Photo)
A desolate view of the cinema years after it was gutted in a fire. (Arun Jetlie/HT File Photo)
13 June 1997 - Uphaar Fire Story - HT Photo by Prakash Singh.
13 June 1997 - Uphaar Fire Story - HT Photo by Prakash Singh.

In November 2007, a trial court had sentenced the Uphaar owners – the Ansal brothers — to two-year rigorous imprisonment. But in December 2008, the Delhi high court reduced their sentence to one-year jail term. While Sushil Ansal spent 5 months and 20 days in jail, Gopal remained in jail for four months and 20 days.

On August 19, 2015, the SC upheld the brothers’ conviction in the case. However, considering their age and the period already spent by them in prison, it decided not to send them back to jail. It asked the Ansal brothers to pay a fine of Rs 30 crore each in lieu of a jail term.

A policeman rescues an injured person from the Uphaar cinema. (Prakash Singh/HT File Photo)
A policeman rescues an injured person from the Uphaar cinema. (Prakash Singh/HT File Photo)
Cars were also gutted in the fire broke out in the basement of Uphaar Cinema hall in Delhi. (Prakash Singh/HT File Photo)
Cars were also gutted in the fire broke out in the basement of Uphaar Cinema hall in Delhi. (Prakash Singh/HT File Photo)
The rescue operation at Uphaar cinema hall. (PTI File Photo)
The rescue operation at Uphaar cinema hall. (PTI File Photo)
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