NEW DELHI: Rich people can get away by paying money but it is different for the ordinary citizens, said a shocked and disappointed mother of two teenagers who were killed in the 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy.
Neelam Krishnamurthy, who led the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT), was reacting to the Supreme Court order allowing the Ansal brothers to walk free by paying Rs 60 crore a fine.
Maintaining that nobody cared about the human life of ordinary citizen, she said "I am very much disappointed. 18 years back, I lost faith in God and 18 years later, I lost faith in judiciary."
"One thing which I have realised is that the court of law is not same for the rich and the poor. Rich people can get away by paying money but for ordinary citizens, judiciary is different," Krishnamurthy said immediately after the order.
"Had it been the lives of children of politicians and judges, justice would have been done within a year," she said, adding that the judiciary "cannot understand the plight of a mother who has stood 18 years before the court to get disappointment. Nobody cares about ordinary people but rich and powerful get away."
She said the tragedy, in which 59 lives were lost on June 13, 1997 during the screening of blockbuster film 'Border', was due to the "wilful negligence" of the theatre owners who risked the lives of the movie-goers for pecuniary gain.
"It was a murder by wilful negligence. It was like a mass murder. When one person is killed the offender is awarded life sentence or 10-14 years in jail, but here they are getting away by paying money. My children died because Ansals created extra seats to make some money," Krishnamurthy said.
Krishnamurthy said she would consult lawyers to decide the future course of action.
Maintaining that she was "disgusted and dissapointed" with the outcome of the nearly two decade old legal battle, she said by asking the Ansals to pay the Delhi government, the Supreme Court was "rewarding" government departments like erstwhile Delhi Vidyut Board, MCD and others that had given no-objection certificates to the theatre owners.
"After waiting for 18-year, the apex court allowed Ansals to buy freedom by paying Rs 60 crores for the incident in which 59 cine-goers were killed," she said, asking what message was going to the society.