Twenty-nine activists were arrested on Saturday as prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC were imposed in the area near the metro-rail project site in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony.
Protests were held late Friday night and continued during the wee hours of Saturday as authorities began cutting down trees at Aarey Colony to build an upcoming metro car shed.
Those arrested are among the 60 people earlier detained by police.
“We have arrested 29 protesters. Six of them are women. Some of them had manhandled and beaten the police personnel deployed in Aarey Colony and obstructed them from discharging their duty,” a police official was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Meanwhile, felling of trees has resumed in the area with the imposition of prohibitory orders.
Protesters on Friday gathered at the spot asking why can’t the authorities wait until a petition can be filed in the Supreme Court regarding the matter.
The protesters opposing the BMC tree authority’s decision entered the metro rail site as the municipal corporation began felling of trees. However, they were pushed back by the police and all roads leading to the car shed site have been barricaded.
Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) had started hacking trees from Friday to make way for a car shed, hours after the Bombay High Court dismissed four petitions filed by NGOs and activists challenging the decision to allow felling of over 2,700 trees in the prime green lung of the city.
The Metro Bhavan, to be built at a cost of around Rs 13 crore, will be spread over 1.14 lakh sq metres in the lush green Aarey Colony, Goregaon. It has attracted stiff opposition from Mumbaikars, environmentalists and celebrities who fear huge loss of green cover due to the project.
The state government on September 20 told the court that Aarey Colony cannot be declared a forest just because of its greenery.
The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited in its argument told the court that the metro project is of utmost importance for the city.
“Every day 10 persons die due to overcrowding in local suburban trains. The Metro project will ease the pressure from the trains,” MMRCL counsel argued before the court.
Known as the Green lung of Mumbai, the Aarey Colony is situated near the Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
Meanwhile, leaders including Jignesh Mevani, Aaditya Thackeray have shown their protest against the cutting of trees in Aarey Colony and have appealed to the people of Mumbai to resist the “illegal” action.
Youth icon and Shiv Sena Worly seat contestant Aaditya Thackeray on Saturday came down heavily on the Mumbai metro authorities and extended his support to activists protesting against the felling of trees.
Thackeray took to Twitter and termed the felling down of trees as “shameful and disgusting” act which was carried out “in cover of night, with slyness.”