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Delhi's Uphaar Cinema Fire Tragedy: Know What Happened Today 22 Years Ago

While 59 people died being trapped inside, mostly due to suffocation, around 103 people were seriously injured in the resulting stampede in the 1997 fire tragedy.

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Updated:June 13, 2019, 12:01 PM IST
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Delhi's Uphaar Cinema Fire Tragedy: Know What Happened Today 22 Years Ago
Delhi’s Uphaar Cinema became a victim to one of the deadliest fire tragedies in 1997
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22 years ago on this day, Delhi’s Uphaar Cinema became a victim to one of the deadliest fire tragedies in India. On Friday, June 13 1997, Uphaar Cinema, in Green Park, Delhi, became a victim to a deadly fire incident during the screening of the movie Border between 3 and 6 pm.

While 59 people died being trapped inside, mostly due to suffocation, around 103 people were seriously injured in the resulting stampede. The oil leakage and the fire spilled over to the parking lot gutted 27 parked cars, leaving ugly scars on the memory of this day.

22 years on, as we commemorate the Uphaar Cinema Fire Tragedy, here is a look at everything one needs to know about one of the deadliest fire tragedies in Indian history:

1. On the morning of June 13, 1997, at 6.55 am, the bigger of the two transformers installed on the ground floor of the Uphaar Cinema building caught fire. While it was repaired by the Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB), it is alleged that repairs were unsatisfactory; the fire broke out again at around 4.55 pm.

2. There was no public announcement regarding the fire inside the auditorium or the balcony, nor were any fire alarms set off, resulting in a stampede. Even the Projector Operator was not given instructions to stop the film while the fire was raging.

3. Capt. Manjinder Singh Bhinder of the 61st Cavalry of the Indian army, who was out with his family at the movie hall, gave his and his family’s lives saving over a 150 people.

4. The families who lost their loved ones in the Uphaar Cinema fire tragedy formed the Association of the Victims of the Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT).

5. AVUT, comprised of 30 families, filed the civil compensation case and won Rs 25 crore in compensation by the Delhi High Court.

6. A total of 16 accused were named in CBI’s chargesheet, including theatre owners Sushil and Gopal Ansal. The accused were charged under sections 304 (culpable homicide), 304 A (causing death by negligent act) and 337 (hurt) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

7. In 2015, a trial court convicted the Ansal brothers but spared them a jail term due to their age. They were fined Rs 30 crore each.

8. In February 2017, while the Supreme Court sent Gopal Ansal to jail for one year, it spared Sushil Ansal.

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