Aarey Protest: Section 144 Imposed In Nearby Areas Post Agitation Over Cutting Trees; 29 Arrested

In a press statement, the police said that there were around 100 to 200 people protesting and some of them got into a scuffle with police officials and assaulted them, following which 29 were arrested.

Mumbai: Agitation Continues In Aarey As Authorities Cut Down Trees, Several Activists Detained
Police detain activists who were staging a protest against the tree-cutting, being carried out for the Metro car shed project, at Aarey colony in Mumbai. (PTI Photo)
By: ABP News Bureau
Updated: 05 Oct 2019 04:15 PM
Mumbai: The police on Saturday arrested as many as 29 people near the Aarey colony who were protesting against the felling of trees in the green zone in Mumbai for a Metro car shed. According to reports, the police have also imposed section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in Aarey Colony and surrounding areas on October 5, banning unlawful assembly. Mumbai Police PRO has said that prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC have been imposed in the area near the metro-rail project site in Aarey Forest. The entry into Aarey from Marol Maroshi Road has been restricted.

In a press statement, the police said that there were around 100 to 200 people protesting and some of them got into a scuffle with police officials and assaulted them, following which 29 were arrested. Six of the arrested are women. Police said the arrested people will be produced in a local court.

Merely hours after the Bombay High Court's verdict dismissed all petitions against the felling of over 2,500 trees for a Mumbai metro depot, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) late on Friday night started cutting trees in Aarey in the state capital. The cutting of trees took place amid massive protests by activists who alleged that 300 of over 2,600 trees were felled by the end of the day.

Police had booked 38 protesters under various sections of the IPC since late October 4 night, the official said. Another official said over 60 people protesting against the felling of trees have been detained.

Hundreds of people gathered at the site of the proposed car shed after they were informed that trees were being axed by authorities late Friday night. The protests continued during the wee hours of Saturday in an attempt to stop authorities. The site also has heavy police deployment who started dispersing the crowd and had to forcibly remove the protesters, the official said. When the situation worsened, police started taking protesters into custody.

Police have cordoned off the area and people are not allowed to enter the locality. Additional police personnel were called in to prevent untoward incidents, the official said.

Protesters gathered at the spot asked why can’t the authorities wait until a petition can be filed in the Supreme Court regarding the matter. "What is the hurry that they are cutting down trees in the middle of the night," one of the protestors said. "It is saddening to see that the trees which provide life to others are being cut. This is happening when the government itself is urging people to plant more trees,” another protester, said.

Watch |People protest at Aarey site

Taking to Twitter, several activists uploaded images and videos of the protest. Some activists claimed on Twitter Police lathi charged at the peaceful protesters for Aarey. Taking to Twitter, Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani condemned the lathi charge on protesters.

Stalin D, member of NGO Vanaskakti and whose petitions were among those that were dismissed, said, "Why can't the Environment minister under your party stop the work since there is a clear violation of terms of MPCB consent to establish? You can LEGALLY stop the work. Are you willing to walk the talk, Sir? Call me if you are."

To which Yuva Sena president Aaditya Thackeray replied and voiced his protest against the cutting of trees in the past, accusing the Mumbai Metro of destroying everything India said at the United Nations.

The Bombay High Court had, on Friday, dismissed all petitions against the proposed cutting down of over 2,500 trees in Aarey Colony of Mumbai to make way for a Metro car shed and refused to declare the colony as a forest. Scores of locals including environmental activists have been opposing the cutting of trees for the construction of the car shed of the metro station. They are demanding the relocation of the bus depot, which is a part of the Metro III project.

Also Read | Setback for 'Save Aarey' Campaigners As Bombay HC Dismisses Petitions Against Felling of Over 2,700 Trees

Several B-town actors and political leaders have also extended their support to activists by participating in the protests against the cutting of trees. Meanwhile, actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar had supported the Metro project.

(with inputs from agencies)