Aarey Protest: Shiv Sena's Aaditya and Uddhav Thackeray condemn cutting of trees

Aarey trees have again become a part of the election campaign.

Aarey Protest: Shiv Sena's Aaditya and Uddhav Thackeray condemn cutting of trees

While people continue to protest the cutting of trees in the Aarey Forest area, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday came in support of the Aarey forest protestors. He even said that his party will punish “the murderers of Aarey forest” after coming to power. It is interesting that BJP and Shiv Sena are currently allies in the upcoming elections.

He further added, “Aarey is the most important issue for me right now. Whatever is happening today, whatever was happening yesterday and whatever will happen in the future, I will take detailed and in-depth information on what the situation is and will speak firmly and directly on the issue.”

Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) started the chopping in Aarey area in the bid to make the car shed for the Metro 3 line. The protestors and activists have gathered in large numbers to protest against this move and trying to stop the authorities from doing so.

As per the activists' claim, the trees are being cut illegally. As per the rules, the trees cannot be cut post-sunset. They also that as per the rules, after the tree committee gives a go-ahead to the cutting of the trees, the order has to be uploaded on a government website and the trees can be cut 15 days after posting the permission on the website. While the latter is being contested by the Metro authorities, there is no clarity on why the Metro officials wanted to chop down the trees right in the middle of the night.

Activists have been protesting against this act since last night (October 4), following which section 144 has been imposed in Aarey and surrounding areas. Section 144 of CrPC bans unlawful assembly of people. As per recent reports as many as 38 people have been arrested so far.

Earlier in the day, 29 people who were arrested were produced in front of the Borivali court have been sent to judicial custody.

Last night during protests, many users had taken to Twitter to vent their anger, frustration and disappointment. They had even questioned why Aaditya Thackeray was silent on the matter. However, later last night, (at 11:42 PM) Aaditya took to his Twitter to condemn the act. In his tweet, he said, it was a “shame” that the trees had to be cut “in the cover of the night”.

He went on to add that, the exercise was shameful and disgusting and even suggested that officials that were responsible for cutting down the trees in Aarey should be sent to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to destroy terror camps.

He even attacked the Central government and said that there is no point in talking about plastic pollution when the Mumbai Metro is “senselessly destroys the Aarey vicinity.”

Condemning the arrest of protestors, he said, “These protestors can’t be arrested and filed cases with. It’s a shame if we do that”. He requested the Chief Minister of Maharashtra to look into this and ask the police to not put any cases for people with love for the environment”.

On the other hand, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday backed the proposed metro shed in Aarey forest area and said that development and environment protection should be done together.

According to the reports of the eye witness that are still in the area, only a handful of trees remain standing in the area.

According to Zoru Bhathena, a tree activist who had filed the petition in Bombay High court has said that he is 100% sure these trees on the opposite side of the road are not part of 2702 tree proposal and those to have been cut in the recent scheme of things.