'Everyday we live the same pain'; Prayer meet for Uphaar victms

New Delhi, PTI | Updated : 13 June 2013, 05:02 PM

On the sixteenth anniversary of Uphaar fire tragedy, the families of the victims held a prayer meeting in the memory of 59 persons who died in the theatre here and vowed to resolutely continue their fight for justice.

Association of Victims of the Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT), which has been spearheading the legal battle, said families of the victims have waited too long for justice and government must ensure that the guilty are punished.

"Today is my birthday. I had given the money to my son to go see the film that day. Nobody in the family, not my wife, nor my son wishes me now. Today I only got a message from the bank wishing me. We used to celebrate my birthday every year," said Amrit Sehgal who lost his 31-year-old son in the tragedy.

The prayer meet was held in Smriti Upavan at Green Park Extension, opposite the site of Uphaar hall.

"My grandmother is 65 years plus. She has to live alone. That is the plight of losing a young son," said Surabhi Parashar who had lost her maternal uncle in the fire.

"It's been 16 years and my mom hasn't seen a film. She is apprehensive even when I ask her to go out for a film," said Parashar.

Kanwal Bhalla, who lost her husband in the fire, recounted the difficulty of raising her two small kids and how they suffer "the pain everyday".

"I was in the hall with him (husband) and my daughter was with us. I was holding his hand when it happened. I saw everything. Everyday we live the same pain."

Neelam Krishnamoorthy, President of AVUT, who lost her two children in the fire, expressed her "frustration" for delay in justice to the victims of the famililes and wondered whether the guilty will be punished in her lifetime.

A number of family members of the victims said no changes have taken place in terms of fire safety in public buildings all these years despite the tragedy.

59 people had died of asphyxia on June 13, 1997 during the screening of Hindi blockbuster movie Border.

"There are no changes. People are still dying in fire incidents," said Sehgal said.

First Published: Thursday, June 13, 2013 05:00 PM
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