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Uphaar Tragedy: Ansal brothers fined Rs 60 crores

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Ansal brothers got a respite from being sent to jail when the Supreme Court gave its verdict charging them with Rs 60 crores. The Ansal brothers- Gopal and Sushil, were found guilty in the Uphaar Cinema Fire Tragedy of 1997. The amount has to be paid in next three months. The court also slapped a fine of Rs 10 lakhs on the concerned fire officer of the theater.

The Supreme Court said that the money would be given to the Delhi government, and it is to be decided later what is to be done with it. Gopal and Sushil were convicted in 2014. Each of the brothers will have to pay a fine of Rs. 30 crores to the Delhi government within three months, the three-judge bench of the apex court said.

Earlier during the hearing, the Court said that the case of the Uphaar fire tragedy can’t be reopened and the hearing will remain focused on the sentencing of Ansal brothers.

Ansals’ lawyer Ram Jethmalani had pleaded before the apex court to argue on facts relating to the brothers’ conviction. The apex court bench, however, asked him to raise it in a review petition later.

On March 5, 2014, the apex court had upheld the conviction of Gopal and Sushil Ansal in 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy case. The Supreme Court then transferred the case to a three-judge bench.

indian express
credits: Indian Express

Earlier, the panel of judges had reduced the sentence from two years to one year whereas the victims and the families of the deceased had demanded that the Ansals be convicted under more severe sections.

59 people had died and 100 were injured when a big fire broke out at Uphaar cinema hall in South Delhi, while the film Border was being screened on the evening of June 13, 1997. The fire started in the parking lot, spread and catapulted all over the place and finally engulfed the cinema building- most people died in the subsequent stampede and also due to the asphyxia.

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Mercy for the Nirbhaya Rapists?

Gender discrimination is the root of many evils. While keeping the aspiration of females down, certain males have committed many wrongs in the past.

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Nirbhaya
The Nirbhaya incident in Delhi was “instrumental” in bringing about a kind of gender awareness renaissance in India.

By Salil Gewali

Gender discrimination is the root of many evils. While keeping the aspiration of females down, certain males have committed many wrongs in the past. Apart from various kinds of physical tortures, the mental tortures undergone by defenseless females are endless. Within the confinement of four-walls innumerable sins are still being committed which mostly go unreported. However, it was Nirbhaya’s rape incident in Delhi that was “instrumental” in bringing about a kind of gender awareness renaissance in India. Post-Nirbhaya incident, a lot many changes in the laws have been made. The safety and security of women have been prioritized, the nation-wide the whole police departments have been sensitized, to a greater extent the road transportation has been made women-friendly.

Nirbhaya rape
The public is right and more sensible now to point out the “hard cruelty” with which the gang had sexually tortured Nirbhaya that night.

Thanks to the countless number of protests across the country condemning the six rapists. The people from all walks of life came together and relentlessly pressurized the government that the Nirbhaya convicts must be awarded capital punishment. Media’s contribution in the campaign is immeasurable. Alas, India’s judiciary is so annoyingly slow it has taken over 7 years to pronounce the death sentence.

Nirbhaya rape
Advocate Indira Jaising suggested that the convicts of Nirbhaya rape case could be “forgiven” by the parents.

However, now nothing could be so mind-blowing than the flood of condemnation against the comments by a veteran advocate and social activist Indira Jaising. Without a sense of guilt and potential backlash, she suggested that the convicts be “forgiven” by the parents. Jaising’s idea has clearly touched a raw nerve of the major population in the country. People’s anger is spilled well over social media. What is most noteworthy is the scathing condemnation directly from the horse mouth — the mother Asha Devi. A very bold lady, who determinedly fought for justice for so many years, thunders – “Who is Indira Jaising to give me such a suggestion? The whole country wants the convicts to be executed. Just because of people like her, justice is not done with rape victims,” Asha Devi aptly further adds — “Can’t believe how Jaising even dared to suggest such this; I met her many times over the years in Supreme Court, “not once” she asked for my well-being and today she is speaking for convicts. Such people earn a livelihood by supporting rapists; hence rape incidents don’t stop,”

The latter comments by the Nirbhaya’s mother clearly hint the doubt at the “integrity” of the advocate Ms. Jaising. How on earth that one who has not spoken a word of sympathy in spite of many encounters in the court can reserves the right to suggest that which offends the distressed victim party. Asha Devi deserves a salute for her boldness. Yes, India Jaising is one of the advocates who knocked the door of the Chief Justice of India in the middle of the night in July 2015 in order to seek the mercy for the dreaded terrorist Yakub Menon.

Nirbhaya rapists
In 2015, the Delhi Government proposed to award the Nirbhaya juvenile convicts with Rs 10000/- and a sewing machine.

Again, here is another bombshell to drop which many of us may have forgotten. Can we ever “forgive” for the shocking proposal in 2015 by Delhi Government to award the Nirbhaya juvenile convicts with Rs 10000/- and a sewing machine?  Who has approved such bizarre ideas and which leaders are responsible? What kind of lesson should the citizens take from this?

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I think the public is right and more sensible now to point out the “hard cruelty” with which the gang had sexually tortured Nirbhaya that night. They had used the iron-rod to inflict deep injuries upon the girl which is unspeakable, which is very unpardonable. So, given the increasing cases of rapes and subsequent inhumane cruelty and cold-blooded killings, Capital punishment can be the only answer and “one of the deterrents”. Before the divine retribution, the hard rod of punishment should not be spared at all. 

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali