Around 2,500 have been cut down and the felling of trees will be completed by evening today. The trees which have been chopped by the authorities will be later transported to other places through trucks. The massive protests which were reported on Friday and Saturday lost its much fanfare as the fear of detention keeps them away.
So far 29 people have been arrested and several leaders who took part in the protests were also detained by the Mumbai Police. Around 1,500 trees were chopped on the first day. The Mumbai Police also imposed section 144 to avert any incident and the entry gates on all sides have been closed.
While the complete shutdown is being witnessed in Aarey colony where the metro car shed site is located. Heavy deployment of cops and the site is still barricaded. There is checking points where people living in the colony have to show their identity cards to the police then they will be allowed inside.
The issue has been entirely changed into political. Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress have openly supported the protesters. Shiv Sena chief Uddav Thackeray backed the protesters and had said if the party voted to power in the upcoming elections, the party will take strict action against the erring officers. Aaditya Thackeray also criticised the government’s move to allow the authorities to cut down the trees. He termed the police act shameful and disgusting.
However, Congress blamed Shiv Sena for playing double standards. They alleged Shiv Sena on one hand is trying to win the peoples trust, on the other hand, it continues its alliance with the BJP.
No BJP leader has made any statement to support the protesters in the Aarey tree cutting. Union Minister Prakash Javedekar had said the development and environment should go hand in hand.