Advertisement
Monday, Oct 25, 2021
Outlook.com

7 Years Since Kolkata's AMRI Hospital Fire, Victims' Families Still Await Justice

It’s seven years since Calcutta’s horrific AMRI fire. For victims’ families, justice flows in an exasperating drip.

7 Years Since Kolkata's AMRI Hospital Fire, Victims' Families Still Await Justice
Photograph by Sandipan Chatterjee
7 Years Since Kolkata's AMRI Hospital Fire, Victims' Families Still Await Justice
outlookindia.com
2018-12-18T12:05:46+05:30

Dhananjoy Pal’s daughter was trapped inside the burning hospital, screaming for help, but a guard allegedly prevented her from getting out. “Who will clear your dues?” they asked. The 14-year-old died on the fateful dawn of December 9, 2011, one of the 94 who suffocated when fumes from a fire in the basement of the Advanced Medical Research Ins­titute Hospital (AMRI) in Calcutta’s Dhakuria spread to the upper floors through air conditioning ducts.

For the last seven years, Pal, a resident of Bankura district, has made the grueling 172-km journey to Calcutta and back every single time the courts ann­ounced a hearing in the case of criminal negligence which was filed against the hospital. Seven years on, he’s exhausted and dra­i­ned of resources. “We are middle-class people, without the finances required to pay for lengthy trials. We reposed faith in the legal system. But why does it take so long to get justice?” Pal breaks down, rec­alling his daughter’s premature death. “She was just a child,” he says, his voice quivering with emotion. “If she had lived she would have been 21.” Most relatives of the AMRI fire victims ask the same question. “Why is there no deadline?” Paromita Guha Thakurta, who lost her mother, 64-year-old Mri­dula Devi in the fire, demands.

Immediately after the tragedy, the West Bengal government had swung into action, with chief minister Mamata Banerjee getting the entire top management of AMRI, including its owners and board of directors, arrested. In what was considered an exemplary administrative act, on her instructions, the police filed a chargesheet in just 84 days. In all, 16 officials were charged with cases of criminal negligence, including Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code (culpable homicide not amounting to...

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

The Third Colour: Shah Rukh Khan Is A Symbol Worth Rooting For

The Third Colour: Shah Rukh Khan Is A Symbol Worth Rooting For

When we say we’re standing in solidarity with someone, we’re really standing up for our own ideals, values, peace and truth, writes comic-poet Varun Grover.

Aryan Khan Drug Case: Sameer Wankhede Alleges Being Targeted Over 'Dead Mother's Religion'

Aryan Khan Drug Case: Sameer Wankhede Alleges Being Targeted Over 'Dead Mother's Religion'

In his affidavit submitted to the court, Sameer Wankhede refuted the allegations levelled against him, and claimed he was under a 'lurking threat of arrest'.

Manchester United, Adani, 369 Slingshot Among 9 Bidders For New IPL Teams

Manchester United, Adani, 369 Slingshot Among 9 Bidders For New IPL Teams

The Board of Control for Cricket in India will today name the owners of two new Indian Premier League teams to play from 2022.

Explainer | Why Tripura's Karbong Tribe Is On The Verge Of Extinction

Explainer | Why Tripura's Karbong Tribe Is On The Verge Of Extinction

Hardly 250 people belonging to 60 to 70 families remain in Karbong tribe. Their population is getting reduced fast due to intertribal marriage, poverty and lack of proper education.

Advertisement