The saffron alliance of Shiv Sena and BJP in Maharashtra and at the Centre are showing differing opinions on the Aarey row. The BJP has been supportive of the proposed metro shed in the Aarey Forest Area. On Friday, October 5, the Bombay High Court refused to acknowledge Aarey as a forest and dismissed all pleas by environmental activists campaigning against cutting of over 2,500 trees. Following the decision, senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut attacked Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Sanjay Raut tweeted a picture of cartoon which shows a blindfolded Lady of Justice with a cloth that reads "Aarey not a forest"
In the aftermath of the Bombay High Court's decision, large scale protests erupted on Friday, all around the city. In addition to that, senior Shiv Sena leaders and other protestors have been arrested by the Mumbai Police. Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi is among those detained by the police.
Chaturvedi tweeted and said that she was forcibly evicted by the Mumbai Police from the Aarey Forest area:
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
Aaditya Thackeray reacts to Aarey situation
Shiv Sena Scion and the party's candidate for upcoming assembly elections Aaditya Thackeray also spoke about the situation in a series of tweets and slammed the decision. Thackeray said that local Shiv Sena members tried thwarting the felling of trees
The vigour with which the @MumbaiMetro3 is slyly and swiftly cutting down an ecosystem in Aarey is shameful and disgusting. How about posting these officials in PoK, giving them charge to destroy terror camps rather than trees?— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) October 4, 2019
Many environmentalists and even many local Shiv Sena members from the vicinity have tried stopping this. More so the increased police presence and the way this deforestation is happening, @MumbaiMetro3 is destroying everything India said at the UN @UNEnvironment @UN— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) October 4, 2019
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
Earlier on Saturday, Section 144 was imposed in the area from the entrance into Aarey to Marol Maroshi Road. Protests in Aarey colony broke out after the authorities from Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) 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, 200 had been cut by Friday night, activists alleged. Videos of tree-felling went viral on social media. The protest was supported by members of Aam Aadmi Party as well as Shiv Sena leaders including scion Aaditya Thackeray, who criticised the move in a series of tweets.