Mumbai: Aarey police wanted 'brain behind protest' against tree-felling

Updated: Oct 06, 2019, 11:02 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav, Faizan Khan | Mumbai

29 persons booked under Sections 332 and 353, over 200 detained after protests break out against top-speed after-dark felling of trees in green lung following Bombay High Court's Friday verdict

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PicThe Aarey Police on Saturday arrested 29 persons—activists and locals—protesting from Friday night to save the trees in the green area after the HC on Friday greenlighted the cutting of over 2,600 trees for the Metro car shed. The police, in a press release, said some of these protesters had got into a scuffle with the officers who were doing their duty. All arrested protesters were produced before Borivli court later in the afternoon; the court has sent them all to judicial custody for the next 14 days. Another 50 were detained on Friday night. On Saturday morning, 150 protesters were added to the list when Section 144 (unlawful assembly) was imposed within the Aarey Colony. They were all released by afternoon.

Aarey
Protesters turned up in large numbers on Friday night and all through Saturday at the Metro car shed, Picnic Point in Goregaon's Aarey Colony. Pic/ Anurag Ahire

Protesters had started gathering at the site of the metro car shed where tree cutting had started on Friday night and tried to stop the hacking of the trees. During this, a minor scuffle took place between them and the cops. According to Aarey police, Anita Shankar Sutar, 28, constable attached to the Aarey Police and Sandeep Ingle were allegedly assaulted by the protesters. The accused have been booked under IPC sections 353 (assault or force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 143 (member of an unlawful assembly) and 149 (member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object).

Aarey

At the Borivli Metropolitan Magistrate court, the investigating officer demanded police custody of the four protestors—Anand Desai, Sudarshan Kale, Deeplay Pawar and Shreyas Rajadhyaksh—saying they are the "brain behind the protest and running the campaign to invite more and more people at Aarey through social media". The court refused this and sent all to judicial custody. The protesters through their lawyer have filed a bail plea and the matter will be heard on Monday.

AareyWhile there is no official figure, activists claim over 1,000 trees have been cut. Pic/Anurag Ahire 

Of the 29, two are students who have exams on Monday and have requested the court, through their counsel Sonali Samuel, for urgent bail hearing. The court has asked them to file an application.

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