Maharashtra Congress leader and former parliamentarian from Mumbai Sanjay Nirupam visited Aarey Forest on Saturday. Nirupam took to streets near the Aarey Forest area and condemned the ongoing situation. Over 2,500 trees are currently being cut to make way for the proposed metro car shed. Since late Friday, hoardes of protestors have thronged to the area which is currently under lockdown. Meanwhile, Nirupam interacted with the media and strongly criticised the State Government's decision.
On reaching Aarey Forest, Nirupam said that he was present to condemn the felling of trees. He also stated that he is against the arrest of environmental activists and protestors protesting at Aarey. Nirupam also lashed out against the aggresive moves taken by the Mumbai Police to detain the protestors.
"What was the urgency to start the cutting of trees overnight? I am here to condemn that. Also, I would like to raise my voice against the way Aarey activists were thrashed, beaten and arrested." said Nirupam.
Talking about the proposed metro carshed, Nirupam said that he is not against the construction of the carshed. However, the Congress strongman said that he advocates against it coming up in Aarey Forest. He also raised concerns pertaining to the ill-effects that will follow after the carshed is constructed.
"We are not against metro or metro car shed. However, we are against it being built in Aarey. If the carshed comes up in Aarey then everything will be destroyed and everyone will be affected." added Nirupam
Nirupam while interacting with the media, said that he appeals to the Government to stop the cutting of trees in Aarey and shift the car shed somewhere else. Apart from this, Nirupam went on to say that the coming generations will be adversely affected by the government's move. Furthermore, Nirupam also spoke against Section 144 imposed in the area since Friday night.
The Congress leader said that imposing Section 144 in Aarey feels like an emergency and dictatorship. "Section 144 in Aarey seems like an emergency rule is in place. It feels like a Dictator's move has been brought in to destroy people's lives," said Nirupam.
Following the imposition of Section 144 in Aarey, the whole area has been cordoned off by the Mumbai Police. People are barred from entering the premises from any access points in the city. On this, Nirupam added that stopping people is useless. Nirupam unleashed heavy attack on the administration and said that it should work in the people's favour, thereby urging the responsible authorities to go against the court order.
"People's feelings should be taken into consideration and the administration should go against the court order." said Nirupam
When asked about Shiv Sena's stand on the matter, Nirupam said that Shiv Sena has claimed that it opposes the felling of trees. However, he said that Sena sides with the ones who decided to cut the trees.
"Shiv Sena says its against the cutting of trees. But they have allied with the ones who are cutting these trees. If Sena really cares about Aarey then it should urge the BJP to stop the felling of trees instead of creating drama and lip-service." concluded Nirupam.