Sec 144 Imposed, Activists Detained After Protests Against Midnight Chopping In Aarey Forest
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), on Friday night, started cutting trees in Aarey Forest. The hurried decision to clear the land was implemented late night as Bombay High Court dismissed all petitions against the felling of 2,700 trees in the Aarey Forest.
Section 144 was imposed in the region after several activists and citizens protested outside the metro car depot site in Aarey. The activists allege that more than 500 trees were chopped and 200 activists were detained over the night.
The activists are reportedly booked under Sections 332, 353, and 149, 143 of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to criminally assaulting public servants on duty and offences of unlawful gatherings.
As per the High Court ruling, the BMC was supposed to wait for 15 days before beginning any activity in the region, but the activists allege that the chopping of the trees late night, was in stealth, illegal and in contravention of the order.
When bulldozers were brought into the green space at midnight, citizens came out in large numbers to oppose and challenge the authorities.
Many politicians, actors and business leaders came on record to criticize the government for the axing what’s popularly know as ‘lungs’ of the city.
They have cut the #Aarey forest trees.
They have cut our lifeline. #RIPAarey
— Sanjay Jha (@JhaSanjay) October 5, 2019
#AareyForest this is truly incomprehensible
1.”Mumbai high court saying “Aaray is not a forest”
2.Sooo much urgency n diligence in carrying out a court order..
3.Those responsible can’t get away with a mere tweet of fake anguish #Aarey #Mumbai #Green pic.twitter.com/nkJcGGHx87
— Urmila Matondkar (@UrmilaMatondkar) October 5, 2019
400 trees have been cut in the dead of the night. As citizens sang and joined hands in unity pleading to STOP this massacre. Can’t you see they are UNITED by love!?! Love for nature. Love for our children and our future. #Aarey #ClimateAction #ActNow #ChangeIsComing pic.twitter.com/7XCwSeaqDT
— Dia Mirza (@deespeak) October 5, 2019
Heard the terrible news about the cutting down of trees in #AareyForest started last night! The ecological imbalance this can cause is beyond control & it must stop. I urge the authorities to help #SaveAarey if not for us, for our future generations @narendramodi @Dev_Fadnavis
— Sidharth Malhotra (@SidMalhotra) October 5, 2019
Aditya Thackeray, President of the youth wing of the Shiv Sena also extended his support to the activists.
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