As the protests continue in Mumbai's Aarey Colony against the felling of trees by authorities from Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) on Saturday, the residents of the Aarey Colony spoke to Republic TV. The protests broke out after the authorities from MMRCL allegedly started cutting trees in the area following Bombay High Court's dismissal of all petitions challenging the felling of trees. Of over 2,600 trees which are to be felled, 800 had been cut, as per reports.
Speaking to Republic TV, the resident of Aarey colony said, "In the night, we came to know that there was cutting of trees happening in the area. We all came out to see but the police stopped us and also misbehaved with the people present. They started hitting people and stopped them from entering the place. They are not even allowing us to enter inside. The school buses have been stopped outside. People going for work have also returned back home as they are not allowed to go outside."
"We are the residents of Aarey, where are we supposed to go? The water tankers are also stopped outside and there is a lot of water issues in the area. They have put up barricades everywhere and are stopping us to enter. We have no clue what is going on inside. They are asking us for our ID to prove that we are a resident of Aarey."
One of the protestors also spoke to Republic TV he said, "As I was informed about the issue, I immediately came here with my friend to check whether it was true. As we entered inside, we were stopped by the officials they also misbehaved with us. It feels like they are hiding something from us. I am very upset with this behaviour of the government. They themselves urge people to plant trees and now they are cutting these trees down."
Informing about the move, Mumbai police PRO said that prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC has been imposed in the area near the metro-rail project site in Aarey. 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.
Protests in the Aarey colony broke out after the authorities from Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) allegedly started cutting trees in the area on Friday night, following Bombay High Court's dismissal of all petitions challenging the felling of trees. However, after videos of trees being cut at Aarey were circulated on social media, locals gathered at the site to protest. Calling the move "shameful and disgusting", Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray slammed the authorities and slammed the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL).
There’s no point for the Central government ministry of climate change to exist, or to speak about plastic pollution when the @MumbaiMetro3 senselessly destroys the Aarey vicinity. This ego battle taken up by Metro 3 is destroying the purpose of making it.— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) October 4, 2019
Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi was forcefully evicted by the police present at the site on her visit to the Aarey colony on Saturday.
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 @MumbaiPolice— Priyanka Chaturvedi (@priyankac19) October 5, 2019
The Bombay High Court, on Friday, refused to declare Aarey colony a forest and also decline all four petitions against the felling of trees and imposed a penalty of Rs 50,000 on Shiv Sena corporator Yashwant Jadhav, who had filed a petition against the approval granted by the civic body's tree authority.
The issue has reached all the way to the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis after Thackeray had criticised his government for allowing the trees to be cut. Fadnavis, reacted to his Thackeray 's stance on the issue saying that Thackeray's intentions were noble, but he wasn't aware of the hidden intentions of those who want to prevent the felling of trees.