Aarey protests: Curfew continues in parts of Mumbai, officials call felling of trees ‘inevitable’

By: |
October 6, 2019 4:56 PM

Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd authorities began felling of trees late on Friday night to make way for the metro car shed.

Police stand guard outside the Aarey Colony after demonstrators held a protest demanding that the Mumbai Metro Rail Corp Ltd not cut trees to build a train parking shed for an upcoming subway line, in Mumbai. (Reuters)

Aarey Colony protests: Prohibitory orders imposed in Aarey Colony of Mumbai continued on Sunday as authorities cut trees for the construction of a Metro car shed. Curfew was imposed in Aarey colony and surrounding areas on Saturday to stop protesters from going into the area. Section 144 of CrPC prohibits an assembly of more than four persons in an area where there is a likelihood of breach of peace and disturbance of public tranquility.

Heavy police force has been deployed at all the entry points for Aarey Colony. Security has also been deployed at the connecting road on the Western Express Highway to prevent any untoward incident, news agency PTI quoted a police official as saying. “We have identified five major spots which are broadly used to get access into the Aarey Colony, including from the Western Express Highway, Marol police training camp centre and one route coming from Mulund side,” he said. The official also said that normalcy would be restored in the area soon.

On Sunday, Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar was taken into custody when he tried to enter Aarey Colony. The leader alleged that the state government was using its power to quell the voice of the protesters. For the last two days, most shops and restaurants in Aarey Colony remained closed.

Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) authorities began felling of trees late on Friday night to make way for the metro car shed. Clashes broke out between protesters and the police, leading to 29 activists getting arrested.

The MMRCL began felling trees hours after the Bombay High Court dismissed petitions challenging the decision to cut 2,700 trees in the Aarey Forest, which is referred to as the green lung of the city.

The administration has defended the move saying that the felling of trees was ‘inevitable’.

“Sometimes to construct something new destruction becomes inevitable but it also paves the way for new life and new creation,” Mumbai Metro managing director Ashwini Bhide tweeted on Sunday.

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