Aarey forests: Police detains 55 protesters, section 144 imposed
(Image: ANI)

A day after the administration started razing the trees in Aarey colony in Mumbai, protests escalated amidst scuffle between the police and activists.

On Saturday, a local court sent 29 people to judicial custody for five days while police detained 55 others in connection with the protests.

As many as 38 protesters were arrested by the police out of which 29 were produced before a local court, which sent them to judicial custody.

Police had imposed section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in Aarey Colony and surrounding areas, restricting movements and gathering of groups, and cordoned off the area.

The police also detained 55 protesters for allegedly violating the prohibitory orders of section 144 imposed near the Aarey colony area.

Since late-night itself, many protestors gathered at the site to raise their voice against the felling of trees.

What shocked many was the timing of the action, as it was dark but activists gathered at the Colony after a video showing a tree being cut there, was widely circulated on social media.

Protestors gathered at the spot asking why the authorities can’t wait until a petition can be filed in the Supreme Court regarding the matter.

On Friday, the Bombay High Court had 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, in another petition.

A bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dangre was hearing the matter.

The bench said, “The greens (environmentalists) fail in the instant petition because they have lost touch with the procedure to be followed as per law. The clock cannot be put back,”

However, Justices SC Dharmadhikari and AK Menon of the HC took up an application by the activists was taken up for urgent hearing.

But, the green activists suffered a second jolt after the high court bench refused to stay ongoing felling of trees.

The activists are opposing the cutting of trees for the construction of the car shed of the metro station and are demanding the relocation of the bus depot, which is a part of the Metro III project.

Leaders from various political parties including the ruling ally Shiv Sena and opposition Congress are also protesting the move.

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