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Uphaar tragedy: Age, Ansals and gift from judiciary

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By Ridham Gambhir

Getting old is an unavoidable facet. The same became more of an advantage than a liability when the Ansal brothers got released from their sentenced punishment because of their “old age”.

Sushil Ansal (75) and Gopal Ansal (67) were granted bail on Friday when the Supreme Court said that Sushil is “fairly aged” and his younger brother deserves “parity” with him and that it was not “fruitful” for them to undergo rigorous punishment.

UphaarFire_reutersOn June 13, 1997, 59 people died and over 100 were injured when a fire broke out at Uphaar Cinema, New Delhi during the screening of Border.

A probe into the incident revealed several regulatory violations such as- no functional public announcement system, no emergency lights, foot lights, or exit lights; and blocked gateways (due to unauthorized seating arrangement installed by the theatre authorities).

Ansal brothers alone can’t be held responsible for this fiasco. The fire broke out due to faulty wiring in the transformer that was installed by Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB) in the cinema hall.

“The cause of death was suffocation due to the fire and the Ansal Brothers can’t be blamed for that,”  argued Ram Jethmalani , lawyer for the estate barons in 2008 hearing in HC.

If old age is being taken into consideration while releasing the Ansal brothers, then what about Om Prakash Chautala (80) and Subroto Roy (67)? Both of these men are in jail for committing financial crimes, yet they haven’t been released till now considering their “old age”.

As per the data compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), more than 87,000 people, 60 and above, were arrested under the Indian Penal Code and Special Local Law crimes in 2014. In 2013, around 53,000 people in the age group 50 and above were put behind bars.

346219-uphaar

The victims of this horrible accident united under the banner name of the ‘Association of Victims of Uphaar Fire Tragedy’ (AVUT), which won ₹25 crore as a compensation for their dead relatives. However, Supreme Court, on 13 October 2011, nearly halved the sum of compensation awarded to them by the Delhi High Court.

The fire broke out 18 years back, when Sushil Ansal was 57 years old and Gopal Ansal was 49. Our judicial system didn’t give them an ‘appropriate punishment’ at that time, and now it is ‘replacing’ their punishment by a means of monetary compensation. Have the brothers grown too old or has our law enforcement got too weak?

If the Ansal brothers are too old to deal with the punishment given to them. then think about the families of those 59 who have grown old in the memory of their loved ones.

The tragedy took place a long time back, but it’s wounds are still fresh. And those who gave these wounds have grown “too old” to suffer their wrongdoings! Is this is uphaar (gift) from our judiciary to these brothers?

 

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Good Sleep, Mood Can Help You Stay Sharp in Old Age, Suggests New Research

These findings could lead to future interventions and treatments to counteract the negative impacts of these factors on working memory

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Don't consume caffeinated drinks less than six hours before you go to sleep. Pixabay

Memory slips with age, but getting a fair amount of sleep every night and having a cheerful mood each day may help you stay sharp even when you grow old, suggests new research.

Poor sleep quality and a depressed mood are linked to a reduced likelihood of remembering a previously experienced event, said the study published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.

The researchers found strong associations between working memory and three health-related factors such as sleep, age and depressed mood.

Working memory is the part of short-term memory that temporarily stores and manages information required for cognitive tasks such as learning, reasoning and comprehension.

Working memory is critically involved in many higher cognitive functions, including intelligence, creative problem-solving, language and action-planning. It plays a major role in how we process, use and remember information.

The study found that age is negatively related to the “qualitative” aspect of working memory — that is, how strong or how accurate the memory is.

“Other researchers have already linked each of these factors separately to overall working memory function, but our work looked at how these factors are associated with memory quality and quantity – the first time this has been done,” said Weiwei Zhang, Assistant Professor at the University of California, Riverside in the US.

Sleep deprivation can hurt performance and health. Wikimedia commons

“All three factors are interrelated. For example, seniors are more likely to experience negative mood than younger adults. Poor sleep quality is also often associated with depressed mood”, Zhang added.

The researchers performed two studies. In the first study, they sampled 110 college students for self-reported measures of sleep quality and depressed mood and their independent relationship to experimental measures of working memory.

In the second study, the researchers sampled 31 members of a community ranging in age from 21 to 77 years. In this study, the researchers investigated age and its relationship to working memory.

The researchers are the first to statistically isolate the effects of the three factors on working memory quantity and quality.

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Although all three factors contribute to a common complaint about foggy memory, they seem to behave in different ways and may result from potentially independent mechanisms in the brain.

These findings could lead to future interventions and treatments to counteract the negative impacts of these factors on working memory. (IANS)