At least 29 people, including six women, were arrested on Saturday in connection with the protest against the cutting of trees in Aarey Colony, a police official said. Those arrested are among the 60 people earlier detained by police. "We have arrested 29 protesters. Six of them are women. Some of them had manhandled and beaten the police personnel deployed in Aarey Colony and obstructed them from discharging their duty," the police official said.
The Mumbai Police has also put prohibitory orders, while section 144 of CrPC has been imposed in the area near the metro-rail project site in Aarey forest. In addition, the entry into Aarey from Marol Maroshi Road has also been restricted. Hours after the Bombay High Court dismissed all petitions challenging felling of trees to make way for Mumbai Metro cars shed, Mumbai's Aarey Colony witnessed cutting down of trees late on Friday.
Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi was detained by police on Saturday, as she tried to make her way to the Aarey Colony.
Several activists have also been detained since the past night after they attempted to obstruct the authorities from cutting down the trees in the area.
Nearly 200 trees have been hacked in Aarey by Friday night, the activists have alleged. Meanwhile, videos of the act have surfaced on the social media, which show bulldozers rolling into the colony as protesters watch it from at a distance.
Trees being cut at Mumbai's Aarey Colony during night after Bombay HC rejects petition challenging felling of trees. A metro car shed will be built at this place by cutting trees that provide shed and oxygen to all of us. #Mumbai #AareyColony #environment pic.twitter.com/1CpH0ysy7Q— Himanshu Shekhar (@HimaanshuS) October 4, 2019
Another video posted on Twitter shows police push away protesters in the area as the felling of trees continues.
#Mumbai This is how poor Adivasi’s are being treated so that politicians can destroy #AareyForest and make their dirty construction money under the guise of a Carshed that can go somewhere else. Please don’t stand for this. 🙏🏽 #SaveAareyForest pic.twitter.com/mzyiJ2tsTo— Nayomie PK (@PNayomie) October 4, 2019
Site of the proposed car shed saw heavy police deployment as hundreds of people gathered there late Friday night to stop trees from being hacked.
Some protesters camped just outside Aarey through the night as the police stopped them from entering the area, sources said. They alleged the authorities came under the cover of darkness to raze the trees.
On Friday, the Bombay High Court had cancelled four petitions challenging cutting of trees at Aarey Colony for the metro car shed, which was followed by the process to raze the trees.
According to the rules of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, trees can be cut 15 days after posting the court order to do so on its website, sources said.
"What is the hurry that they are cutting down trees in the middle of the night," one of the protesters told news agency ANI.
"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," said another protester, Albert Michel.
Leaders including Jignesh Mevani, Aaditya Thackeray have shown their protest against the cutting of trees in Aarey Colony and have appealed to the people of Mumbai to resist the "illegal" action.
Several tweets lambasted the Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra as well as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation over the issue.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Preeti Menon Sharma said tree cutting was a violation of the poll code in force for the October 21 Assembly elections.
Mumbai: People protest at Aarey Forest against the felling of trees