Heavy police deployment in Aarey Colony amid protests over cutting of trees
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Heavy police deployment in Aarey Colony amid protests over cutting of trees
The entire Aarey Colony was cordoned off by Mumbai police on Saturday morning after hundreds of green activists tried to stop the felling of trees in the area.

Police impose Section 144 of CrPC (banning unlawful assembly) in Aarey Colony, surrounding areas after protests.

The entire Aarey Colony was cordoned off by Mumbai police on Saturday morning after hundreds of green activists tried to stop the felling of trees in the area.

The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd started hacking trees late on Friday night to make way for a car shed, hours after the Bombay High Court dismissed four petitions filed by NGOs and activists challenging the decision to allow felling of trees in the prime green lung of the city.

“There is a heavy police deployment in the area. No one is allowed to enter Aarey Colony. Even tourists are being stopped,” an activist said.

Environment activists criticised the authorities, claiming that almost 200 trees have been cut so far. They alleged the metro corporation wants to finish the job before October 10, when the matter comes before the National Green Tribunal.

“This matter is going to be heard by the NGT on October 10, and we hope to get some respite from there. But it seems like the authorities want to eliminate the entire green patch before the hearing,” Stalin D, one of the activists, said.

Meanwhile, Shiva Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray, who is contesting the October 21 assembly election from Worli, extended his support to the protesters.

“A project that should be executed with pride, the Metro 3, @MumbaiMetro3 has to do it in the cover of the night, with shame, slyness and heavy cop cover. The project supposed to get Mumbai clean air, is hacking down a forest with a leopard, rusty spotted cat and more,” he tweeted.

Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Preeti Sharma Menon said cutting the trees was “a violation of the model code of conduct”.

“The order was uploaded by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation only today, so it is deemed as an order today. They can’t issue such orders when the code of conduct is in place,” she told PTI.

Police impose Section 144

Police imposed section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in Aarey Colony and surrounding areas, banning unlawful assembly, following strong protests by activists against the felling of trees in the green zone for a Metro car shed, an official said.

Police have booked 38 protesters under various sections of the IPC since late Friday night, the official said. Another official said over 60 people protesting against the felling of trees have been detained.

The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) started hacking trees late Friday night to make way for the car shed, hours after the Bombay High Court dismissed four pleas filed by NGOs and activists challenging the decision to allow felling of trees in the prime green lung of the city.

As the MMRCL started cutting trees, hundreds of green activists held protests and tried to stop the action.

“We have imposed section 144 of the CrPC in Aarey Colony, Goregaon check post and surrounding areas,” the Mumbai police spokesperson said.

As of now, at least 38 protesters have been booked under section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 143 (unlawful assembly) and 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), he said.


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