Aarey protest: Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC were imposed in the area near the metro-rail project site at Aarey Colony in Goregaon East and twenty activists arrested after a protest was held on Friday night against the felling of trees in the locality. The incident took place a day after the Bombay High Court allowed axing of over 2,500 trees to facilitate the construction of a car shed of the Mumbai Metro project. The arrested activists will be produced before a local court today.

Reports said as many as 200 activists were detained and the Mumbai Police blocked roads leading to Aarey as protesters decided to intensify their fight to save Mumbai’s green belt. The Mumbai Police have also filed an FIR against 38 people, Mumbai Police Public Relations Officer Pranaya Ashok said.

Reports said 400 trees were cut in the dead of the night to avoid a face-off with the activists. But the activists, fighting under the Save Aarey banner, thronged Aarey Colony after a video showing a tree being cut illegally by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Tree Authority was widely circulated on social media. Upset citizens formed a human chain and sang as a mark of protest against the illegal cutting of trees.

Gujarat Independent MLA Jignesh Mevani and Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray also appealed to the people of Mumbai to resist the illegal action. Bollywood actors Shraddha Kapoor, Diya Mirza and Bhumi Pednekar and several other celebrities had campaigned for the protection of green cover in Aarey earlier this year.

The felling of trees began after the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCMG) uploaded the permission for the tree cutting of Aarey metro 3 Car shed depot on its website on October 4, 2019 evening. On Friday, a division bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dangre dismissed four pleas filed by NGOs and environmental activists seeking a stay on cutting of trees in Mumbai’s Aarey Milk Colony.

Activists termed the move a conspiracy as they weren’t allowed time to challenge the Bombay High Court verdict in the Supreme Court because the order came at a time when the courts are shut for the weekend and then for Dussehra. By the time courts reopen the forest would have been completely destroyed.

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