Aarey: Protests Intensify as MMRCL Hacks Trees, Several Activists Arrested

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MMRCL began felling trees late on Friday night amidst heavy police cover.

Mumbai: City police has cordoned off the entire Aarey colony area in the Mumbai suburbs of Goregaon following massive protests against tree felling by local residents and environment lovers who had gathered in the area since Friday night.

Police have arrested 29 people and several others have been detained at the nearby police chowkie. Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code, which prohibits assembly of more than four persons in an area, has also been imposed around the colony.

A local magistrate court has sent all 29 activists to judicial custody for five days. Soon after their arrests, the activists had moved court seeking bail. The court rejected their plea.

A case has been registered under sections 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on the complaint of a 28-year-old woman police constable who was allegedly injured in a scuffle between the activists and police.

The agitation began late on Friday night when the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL), amid heavy police deployment, began cutting trees in the area. Early in the day, the Bombay high court had rejected three petitions filed by different citizens groups against the MMRCL’s decision to fell 2,646 trees in the area.

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