NEW DELHI: Three members of Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) today met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and asked him not to accept Rs 60 crore ordered by the Supreme Court to be paid to it by Ansals, two days after the apex court imposed fine on the convicts.
Kejriwal told them that Delhi government will seek legal opinion on their demands and take a considered decision, taking into account the sentiments of the victims families.
During the 30-minute-long meeting, the delegation also urged the Chief Minister to make stringent law for punishment in man-made disasters.
"The government will take legal opinion on their demands to decline the Rs 60 crore order to be paid to Delhi govt by Ansals. It has accepted in principle the suggestion of Uphaar fire victims families to make a law for stringent punishment for man-made disasters," a senior Delhi government official said.
The official said that Delhi government is ready to make a law which provides for stringent punishment to those responsible for man made disasters like the Uphaar fire tragedy and Bhopal gas tragedy.
Real estate barons Sushil and Gopal Ansal escaped being jailed in the 18-year-old gruesome Uphaar Cinema fire tragedy in which 59 people died with the Supreme Court ordering them on August 19 to pay a fine of Rs 30 crore each and restricting their jail term to the period already undergone by them.
According to sources, the AVUT members also demanded that the government should not build a trauma centre for Uphaar tragedy victims using Ansal brothers' money.
"In the meeting, Kejriwal told the delegation that Delhi government will construct a trauma centre in the memory of Uphaar victims from its own resources and it will be dedicated to them. Name of this centre will be given by the AVUT," official also said.
The Chief Minister requested Neelam Krishnamurthy, convener of AVUT and other representatives to send their views and objections on the entire subject.
Kejriwal told the delegation that Delhi government will appoint counsel in other Uphaar-related cases in different courts only after consulting the families of Uphaar victims and will do everything possible to fast track these cases, the official added.
The Chief Minister said the government will give priority to fire safety measures and the fire department will be beefed up and modernized to avoid any untoward situation.
After meeting Kejriwal, Neelam Krishnamurthy, who lost both her children in the tragedy said, ""As the SC has not given any punishment, we want a law where people are given at least 10-15 years of punishment. The CM has assured us that such laws will be framed".
"CM Kejriwal assured them support and said he is taking legal advice. It may be contempt of court (declining the Rs 60 crore)...Second it may lead to constitutional breakdown. CM is saying that he will take legal suggestion. In my opinion lets give time and see what happens," Krishnamurthy said.
Fifty-nine people, trapped in the balcony of the theatre in South Delhi, had died of asphyxia following the fire and over 100 were injured in the subsequent stampede on June 13, 1997 during the screening of Bollywood film "Border".
The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party had yesterday expressed deep disappointment over the Supreme Court verdict denying further jail term to Ansal brothers in the Uphaar tragedy case.
Verdict on Uphaar has deeply disappointed us. We feel that justice has not been done", AAP leader Ashutosh had said.
The AAP also said that the SC ruling on the Ansal brothers has raised several questions.