In a minor relief to the Aarey protesters, the 29 protestors who were arrested on Saturday, have been granted bail by Additional sessions court judge H C Shende of the holiday court on Sunday. The protestors had been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for disturbing public order and obstructing government officials from performing their duties, according to ANI. However, the protesters are unlikely to walk out of the Thane jail, on Sunday pending completion of the legal procedure and other formalities, according to PTI. Earlier on Saturday, the Bombay High Court has rejected a fresh plea of activists seeking a stay on tree cutting at Aarey. It had also granted the Mumbai Police judicial custody of the 29 Aarey protestors.
On Friday night, the protest against the mass tree-cutting of trees in the Aarey area took an ugly turn when authorities from Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) allegedly started cutting trees in the area. This move was following Bombay High Court's dismissal of all petitions challenging the action of the Tree Authority of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in allowing the MMRCL to cut down 2,656 trees in the area. Police imposed Section 144 near the metro-rail project site on Saturday morning. Following the imposition, Mumbai Police has stopped the entry of people from Marol Maroshi Road.
Sources from the location informed that despite prohibitory orders, protestors refuse to move from the place and Police have resorted to lathi charge. After videos of trees being cut at Aarey were circulated on social media, more locals gathered at the site to protest. Calling the move "shameful and disgusting", Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray slammed the authorities and slammed the MMRCL and has promised to take up the matter. Meanwhile, Union Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change Prakash Javadekar had sided with the Bombay HC decision citing 'Aarey was not a forest'.
Several celebrities, politicians have condemned the felling of the trees in the area. Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi was detained in her protests. Mumbai Congress leader Sanjay Nirupa too had slammed the felling of the trees. As per reports, 1500 trees have been felled since Friday night inspite of widespread protests. Activists are planning to approach the Supreme Court in this matter, as per sources.