Vigil in memory of Uphaar victims
Families of the 59 people who lost their lives in the Uphaar cinema inferno in New Delhi in 1997 will hold a week-long vigil beginning Sunday in memory of the victims.delhi Updated: Jun 02, 2007 15:00 IST
Families of the 59 people who died in the Uphaar cinema inferno in New Delhi a decade ago will hold a week-long programme beginning Sunday in memory of the victims.
The Association of the Victims of the Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) is organizing the vigil at Smriti Upavan, a memorial dedicated to those who died right opposite the now shut cinema hall.
"The vigil will take place every evening and culminate with an evening of havan and devotional songs in memory of our lost children," Neelam Krishnamoorty, president of AVUT who lost both her children, told IANS.
In 1997, 59 people died and 103 were injured when a major fire broke out in the packed Uphaar cinema hall in south Delhi during the screening of a movie, following a fault in the electric generator.
By the time the audience realized the hall was on fire, it was too late. Many died of asphyxiation while others lost their lives in a stampede.
Although the Delhi High Court held the owners of the building and several government agencies guilty for not maintaining safety norms at the cinema and slapped monetary penalties, the families of the victims are not satisfied.
Neelam Krishnamoorty said: "We are still awaiting the verdict of the criminal liability case which will punish those guilty. Monetary penalties are not enough. It is a criminal case, how long can it take to render justice?
"It's just not fair. Ten years have gone by and the case has come to a standstill. The system victimises the victims, not the accused. We have been running from pillar to post so that we can get justice for our children who are dead and gone," she said.
"The accused don't even care to show up for the hearings. They can go out of the country for work and holiday while we are running to the court for everything."
Added her husband, Shekhar Krishnamoorty: "I don't think I will be alive to see what happens in this case. There are adjournments every other day. Three of the 16 accused in the case have already died."