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Section 144 imposed in Aarey Colony, 60 held as tree-felling for Mumbai Metro triggers stir

Police booked 38 protesters as hundreds gathered at the proposed site of the Mumbai metro car shed after authorities started felling trees.

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Mumbai: Police imposed section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in Aarey Colony 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.

Also read: Bombay HC allows Aarey felling: Was the urban tree activism based on hype and fear?


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