Ghaziabad crematorium roof collapse: Accused to be charged under NSA

Tragedy gets massive political response, CM Adityanath announced Rs 10 lakh to families of the deceased, homes if needed

roofImage courtesy: PTI

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath has directed the National Security Act (NSA) be invoked against those accused in the crematorium roof collapse incident in Muradnagar which has claimed around 25 lives so far. Adityanath has also directed that the public money used in the construction work be “recovered from the contractor and engineers” who had built the structure. All the victims who were killed were a part of a group attending a  funeral, when the roof of a shelter in the cremation ground collapsed on them, several others were injured.

Chief Minister Adityanath has also announced a financial assistance of Rs 10 lakh for the families of the deceased, and those families who are homeless amongst them will also be provided a home. 


Meanwhile, contractor Ajay Tyagi, who was wanted in connection with the incident was arrested from a village near the Meerut-Muzaffarnagar border, Uttar Pradesh police told the media on Tuesday. According to news reports, Tyagi had gone into hiding once news of the collapse went viral. He was arrested near the Ganga canal bridge of Sathedi village by a joint team of Muradnagar and Niwari police stated news reports. The other accused, identified as Muradnagar Nagar Palika Executive Officer Niharika Singh, Junior Engineer Chandra Pal and Supervisor Ashish were arrested on Monday by the Ghaziabad Police, according to news reports these men were said to be involved in the “tendering process” for building the structure. They were sent to 14 days’ judicial custody.

The aftermath of the tragic incident has had a massive political response, condolence messages poured in as soon as the news Spread. President Ram Nath Kovind paid his condolences,


As did Prime Minister Narendra Modi who tweeted, “The sad news of the unfortunate accident in Muradnagar, Uttar Pradesh, has caused great sorrow. The state government is engaged in relief and rescue work. I express my condolences to the relatives of those who lost their lives in this accident, as well as wish the injured to get well soon.”



Condolences were also offered by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP Ghaziabad MP VK Singh reached the site, and assured strict action against culprits. The local administration’s relief and rescue work was put on record too.

However, according to some local media there had been earlier complaints and allegations against the Palika Parishad, however no action was taken. According to a local news portal called Manasvivani, the Muradnagar Municipal Councilors had made allegations of corruption against the municipality several months ago. It stated that they had complained to the District Magistrate about the alleged corruption but they reportedly ignored the complaints of the councilors.The councilors had complained about the inferior quality construction work being done at the crematorium. Unfortunately, the tragedy unfolded, killing many.

The Ghaziabad Police registered a first information report (FIR) under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 337 (causing hurt to any person by doing any act rashly or negligently as to endanger human lives), 338 (causing grievous hurt by an act endangering life or personal safety of others), stated news reports.  

However it is not clear why the Uttar Pradesh CM Adityanath has invoked NSA in this case. In UP, NSA was initially invoked in the case of ‘cow slaughter’ and ‘cattle smuggling’ which stated offences have been largely used to target the Muslim and Dalit communities involved in cattle trade. It was then invoked against Human Rights Defenders such as Dr Kafeel Khan. It gives the District Magistrate the power to keep a person under detention for up to a year. The Act permits the police to seek remand of an accused for a maximum of 60 days as compared to a maximum of 14 days under normal circumstances.   

The drawbacks of NSA include:

Human Rights Abuse: The Indian security laws do not comply with the international human rights laws. They restrict freedom of association, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, impose restrictions on the rights to a fair trial which is guaranteed by the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, to which India is a party. Women have faced sexual violence, families of detainees lose an earning member and detainees are victims to assault, torture and mental abuse. 

Discriminatory use of law: The empowered governments often misuse or outright abuse the power bestowed upon them. Due to religious and ethnic discrimination, politicians have targeted members of a certain communities. Individuals who belong to minority communities have been detained, disproportionately investigated and prosecuted under these security laws.

 Punitive rather than Preventive measure: Preventing a crime would mean discouraging a criminal from committing a crime without taking any severe action on the criminals. Rehabilitation would be more effective than punishing and making them suffer. The NSA proves to be punitive as it strips away the basic rights of the detainee and creates a difficult environment for the detainee in the prisons. A detailed analysis of how NSA can be misused may be read here.



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