Members of the local Adivasi community on Tuesday have paid tribute to the fallen trees of the Aarey colony in Mumbai. Local residents came together and offered a garland of flowers to a handmade drawing of the felled trees and lit candles in a tribute to the trees that once stood there.
The locals of Aarey fought against the felling of trees till the last moment. Many activists had also joined in the struggle. A grieving girl from the Adivasi community expressed, "We tried a lot. We fought till the very last, but we could not save you. Today, by watching these trees lying dead on the ground, I feel ashamed. I lost my family."
The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) has promised that it will not cut more trees in Aarey as per the Supreme Court's order, however, the clearing of felled trees will continue at the site. "We respect the order of the Supreme Court passed today. No future tree felling activity at the car shed site in Aarey Milk Colony will be undertaken. Other works, including clearing of already felled trees, will continue at the site," MMRCL spokesperson said in an official statement. The MMRCL has cut down 2141 trees out of its target of 2185 prior to Supreme Court's stay.
A protest which was being carried out over a few weeks escalated in the last week when activists tried to sabotage the activity of tree felling. As many as 29 activists were under arrest on Saturday for restricting the activity of tree felling and the police cordoned off the area. The protestors filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the High court order, which was heard on October 7. The Apex court passed a stay order prohibiting MMRCL from further tree felling, maintaining the status quo of the Aarey colony. MMRCL had severed off 2141 trees out of a total of 2185 trees initially planned to chop off until the Supreme Court order to prohibit the tree felling activity further. The next hearing on the matter is scheduled for October 21.
(With ANI Inputs)