Section 144 imposed in Aarey Colony, Mumbai after protests over cutting trees

Ankit Kumar

Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi detained by the Mumbai police

Section 144 of CrPC has been imposed in Aarey Colony and surrounding areas in North Mumbai after the protests over cutting trees. The Mumbai police informed that any gathering of four or more people is banned now. Several activists have been detained since Friday night after they stopped the authorities from cutting trees in the area. Bulldozers have also rolled into the area as protestors looked at them from a safe distance.

A police FIR has been registered against 38 people and 20 have been arrested, Pranaya Ashok, PR officer of Mumbai police said. The arrested will appear in court today.

Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi was also detained by the Mumbai police. She said that the entry points to Aarey have been blocked by the police.  She wrote,“I have been forcibly evicted by the cops and I wasn’t even breaking the law! The cops in the car won’t even tell me where I am being taken … this is insane @MumbaiPolice on Twitter.

Protestors camped outside the Aarey through the night

Some protestors camped outside the Aarey through the night as police stopped them from entering the area. Protestors alleged that the authorities came under the cover of darkness to shed trees.  

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After the Bombay High court dismissed petitions opposing tree-felling in Aarey Colony on Friday, activists alleged that the authorities were hacking trees. Activists alleged that more than 800 trees have been illegally cut so far.

It is illegal to cut trees before 15 days of posting the court order on website

Sources said that, as per the rules of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), trees can be cut after 15 days of posting the court order on its website.  The permission of cutting trees was posted on MCGM Website on Friday and tree cutting began the same night. The court is shut till Dussehra.  One of the activists said ,“We need time to challenge the decision of cutting trees in court. The forest will be gone by the time court reopens.”

The Managing Director of Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation, Ashwini Bhide denied the allegation and said that a false propaganda is being spread that 15 days notice is required after the court order is uploaded on the website. The allegation is baseless. Tree authority order was issued on 13th September which means that the notice period ended on 28th September. The action was awaited till the verdict of High Court was out.

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