29 activists arrested as bulldozers enter Mumbai Aarey to cut trees

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29 activists arrested as bulldozers enter Mumbai Aarey to cut trees
29 activists arrested as bulldozers enter Mumbai Aarey to cut trees

Mumbai : Nothing less than 29 activists have been arrested since Friday night as Mumbai High Court rejected petitions asking for a ban on cutting trees in the Aarey colony, an area required by Mumbai Metro to create metro shed.

Any gathering of four or more people has been banned by the authorities in the area, said Mumbai Police. A police case (First Information Report) has been filed against 38 people, Mumbai Police public relations officer Pranaya Ashok said.

Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi said the entry points to Aarey have been blocked by the Mumbai Police. "I have been forcibly evicted by the cops and I wasn't even breaking the law! The cops in the car wont even tell me where I am being taken... this is insane," she tweeted.

While police stopped some protesters from entering the Aarey colony area, they sat outside and took part in the silent protest. They alleged the authorities came under the cover of darkness to raze the trees.

According to the rules of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), trees can be cut 15 days after posting the court order to do so on its website, sources said.

"...the permission for the tree cutting of Aarey metro 3 Car shed depot was uploaded on the MCGM website on 4th October 2019 evening and tree cutting began the same night. The courts are shut for the weekend and then for Dussehra. We need time to challenge this in court, which we will not have and by the time courts reopen, the forest will be gone," the activists said in a statement.

However, Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Managing Director Ashwini Bhide denied this allegation. "A new false propaganda is in the air that 15 days notice is required after tree authority order getting uploaded on website. This is absolutely baseless. Tree Authority order is issued on 13th Sept 19. 15 days r over on 28th Sept. Action awaited till Hon HC verdict was out," she tweeted.