21 years on, wounds still raw, say kin

Want law for man-made disasters, nodal organisation to take legal responsibility

June 14, 2018 01:38 am | Updated 11:19 am IST - New Delhi

 Members of AVUT and relatives paid homage to the victims on Wednesday.

Members of AVUT and relatives paid homage to the victims on Wednesday.

The family members of the victims of Uphaar fire tragedy on Wednesday morning gathered at Smriti Upavan for the annual prayer meet organised by the Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT).

‘Time is no healer’

“They say time heals all, but it is not like that. Every year on June 13, we are reminded of all that happened on the fateful day,” said Naveen Sahwney, who lost his 21-year-old daughter Tarika in the fire.

The turn of events still remains vivid in the memory of the families of the victims.

“Uphaar has given such a beautiful uphaar (present) to us that we will not be able to forget it for our entire lives,” said Balbeer Kaur Rahi, adding that the tragedy completed as many years as the age of his son when he died.

“Now I have to give them both wings and roots” is a line from the poem ‘Madhu’, written by Shyam Nagpal in the memory of his wife who was also a victim of the Uphaar tragedy. Mr. Nagpal said the toughest challenge he faced after the incident was their daughter’s first day at school.

Shekhar Krishnamoorthy, a significant member of AVUT who lost both his children in the fire, told The Hindu, “Instead of being clubbed under Section 304A of the IPC, there needs to be a separate law for man-made disasters because it is not merely an accident. In 2009, we had given a proposal for the same and the then UPA government was quite receptive. They had sent our proposal to the Law Commission and it had come out on the paper but has been gathering dust since then.”

“A case of tampering of evidence is going on and it should be concluded by November 30, as per the directions of the High Court. We will soon file a curative petition in the High Court,” Neelam Krishnamoorthy, AVUT chairperson told The Hindu .

Also, the association plans to visit schools, factories and other public places to spread awareness as to what should be done in case of a crisis like the one that took place 21 years ago.

The families of the victims also think that identification of a nodal organisation, which will be legally responsible for whatever happens in a public building, is extremely important.

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