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  India   All India  05 Oct 2019  Section 144 imposed in Mumbai's 'green lung', activists arrested

Section 144 imposed in Mumbai's 'green lung', activists arrested

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Oct 5, 2019, 8:34 am IST
Updated : Oct 5, 2019, 11:52 am IST

Police have booked 38 protesters under various sections of the IPC since late Friday night, the official said.

The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) started hacking trees late Friday night to make way for the car shed. (Photo: Twitter)
 The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) started hacking trees late Friday night to make way for the car shed. (Photo: Twitter)

Mumbai: Police imposed section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in Aarey Colony, a prime green lung of the city, and surrounding areas on Saturday, banning unlawful assembly, following strong protests by activists against the felling of trees in the green zone for a Metro car shed, an official said.

Police have booked 38 protesters under various sections of the IPC since late Friday night, the official said. Another official said over 60 people protesting against the felling of trees have been detained.

The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) started hacking trees late Friday night to make way for the car shed, hours after the Bombay High Court dismissed four pleas filed by NGOs and activists challenging the decision to allow felling of trees in the prime green lung of the city.

As the MMRCL started cutting trees, hundreds of green activists held protests and tried to stop the action.

"We have imposed section 144 of the CrPC in Aarey Colony, Goregaon check post and surrounding areas," the Mumbai police spokesperson said.

As of now, at least 38 protesters have been booked under section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 143 (unlawful assembly) and 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), he said.

Hundreds of people gathered at the site of the proposed car shed after they were informed that trees were being axed by authorities late Friday night.

However, police started dispersing the crowd and had to forcibly remove the protesters, the official said.

When the situation worsened, police started taking protesters into custody.

Around 60 protesters were detained by Aarey police, he added.

Police have cordoned off the area and people are not allowed to enter the locality.

Additional police personnel were called in to prevent untoward incidents, the official said.

Several tweets lambasted the Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra as well as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation over the issue.

Aam Aadmi Party leader Preeti Menon Sharma said tree cutting was a violation of the poll code in force for the October 21 Assembly elections.

Many activists alleged that the trees were being cut illegally. According to the rules of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), trees can be cut 15 days after the court posts the order on its website, sources told NDTV.

"...the permission for the tree cutting of Aarey metro 3 Car shed depot was uploaded on the MCGM website on 4th October 2019 evening and tree cutting began the same night. The courts are shut for the weekend and then for Dussehra. We need time to challenge this in court, which we will not have and by the time courts reopen, the forest will be gone," the activists said in a statement.

"What is the hurry that they are cutting down trees in the middle of the night," one of the protesters told news agency ANI.

"It is saddening to see that the trees which provide life to others are being cut. This is happening when the government itself is urging people to plant more trees," said another protester, Albert Michel.

After the video surfaced, Congress leader Jignesh Mevani and Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray came out in support of protesters.

Tags: aarey protest, mumbai metro
Location: India, Maharashtra