Nagpur: Now, new evidence points out to the strong possibility that the fire at Kamala Mills in Mumbai that killed 14, began at Mojo’s bistro and not 1 Above, the pub next to it.
But, while an offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under sections 304, 337, 338, 34 of the Indian Penal Code was registered promptly against the three owners of 1 Above, at the NM Joshi Marg Police Station following the incident, no such action is even being mooted against the owners of Mojos.
Mojo’s Bistro is owned by Tirupati Restaurants and Cafe Pvt ltd, which was registered with the Registrar of Companies, Mumbai on March 23, 2017. The company has two directors – Nagpur based businessman Yug Tuli and Yug Pathak.
The question really begs to be asked – are special favours being shown to them because one of the owners is the son of a former Police Commissioner, and another the son of a Music Celebrity??
Even now a senior Mumbai Police official said that police teams were trying to track the three and a lookout notice had also been issued and reward of Rs. one lakh has been announced for anyone who gives information leading to their arrest. This after, evidence is showing that fire began due to Hookah embers at Mojos.
We are not being soft on the owners of 1 Above here – in fact it is clear that both these pubs have been blatantly running hookah parlours and serving alcohol without having requisite permissions. It is this contempt and disregard for rules that led the the tragic fire that took so many precious lives.
This is a mirror of our society’s double standards
Ten days after the ghastly incident has claimed multiple lives, police action is slow. Leniency is being shown to the Directors and owners of the establishments that were responsible for the deaths.
But just a day after the Mumbai bandh, in which there was no loss of life, albeit much damage to public and private property, FIRs have been issued against at least a thousand Dalit youths and combing operations against them have begun in their bastis!
Is it because the former are well placed, upper class ( and upper caste) people while the latter are perceived as being ‘anonymous nobodies’? The administration and government of the day is quick to act against them and ‘make an example out of them’ while the rich and famous continue making a mockery of rules!
Even if one of them is an elected representative of the people, a law maker and a lawyer by profession an FIR has been lodged against though there is tenuous connection between him and the Bhima Koregaon incident, he was not even present there, and even future programs of his in another city were cancelled without any logic or reason. Hundreds of students and student leaders who were to attend the program were also taken into custody. On what grounds?
But this topic is for another article, coming back to the Kamala Mill fire, it points to some really dangerous trends.
In not just Mumbai, but across the state in Nagpur also restaurants openly run hookah parlours without having permits, we strongly suspect. This is not just leading to increasing tobacco and drug addiction among youth but is also physically dangerous to the patrons of these eateries who are exposed to a fire hazard.
A second issue is of the hazardous material used in erecting ‘illegal’ constructions at such pubs, bistros and restaurants. With no other objective than to add attraction and allure to the place sheer curtains are put around ‘booths’ and enclosures, bamboo and wood structures added, even tarpaulin used to ‘waterproof’ terrace seating which is disallowed to begin with.
Are we so backward in year 2018 too that Municipal Corporations and city bosses do not mandate that fire retardant material be used in places where there will be a crowd of people by definition? It has been a norm in first world countries for decades!
All this goes on either with active connivance or benign ignorance of administration whose job it is to prevent such things. (Illegal bars and hookahs and illegal constructions.)
The Kamala Mill fire really went out of control because both Mojos and 1 Above must have had huge caches of alcohol bought and stored for the coming New Year. One eye witness account reports that huge kegs of beer were physically blocking the Emergency Exits.
New Year’s eve is when restaurants and hospitality joints make a ‘killing’.
It got translated literally on the eve of this year’s New Year Eve…
Will the smoke from this fire open the eyes of Civic bosses or further blind them to reality under their noses?