Mumbai: Protests at Aarey as felling of trees begin after HC clears Metro car depothttps://indianexpress.com/photos/india-news/aarey-protest-felling-of-trees-bombay-high-court-mumbai-police-metro-depot-6054461/

Mumbai: Protests at Aarey as felling of trees begin after HC clears Metro car depot

Protesters fear that the metro car depot will destroy biodiversity and pave the way for further development and land exploitation in Mumbai's Aarey.

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The Bombay High Court Friday dismissed a petition challenging the decision of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Tree Authority to allow felling of 2,185 trees, and transplantation of 460, on a 33-hectare land at Aarey for the construction of a Metro Line 3 rake depot. (Express Photos by Amit Chakravarty)

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The bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati H Dangre also dismissed a petition by NGO Vanashakti, seeking to declare Aarey a forest, and said the petitioner should file an application before the Supreme Court in view of the T N Godavarman case — the 1996 landmark ruling on defining forests and their protection. (Express Photos by Amit Chakravarty)

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Hours after the Bombay High Court dismissed the petition, Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) began hacking trees late on Friday. (Express Photos by Amit Chakravarty)

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The cutting of trees took place amid massive protests by activists who alleged that 300 of over 2,600 trees were felled by the end of the day. “Police is hitting people, including the Adivasis, at the protest site. They have applied force on several people. Adivasi girls are sitting inside and are refusing to leave. We all are in the police car. Police have detained people and taken them to different police stations,” one of the protesters said. (Express Photos by Amit Chakravarty)

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The police detained many protesters. At Dahisar Police Station, at least 26 people continue to be detained. Out of them, nine are women. The women's group also comprises of colleges students, one of whom has an exam today. Protesters said they will decide the next course of action. (Express Photos by Amit Chakravarty)

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Of over 2,600 trees which are to be felled, 200 had been cut by Friday night, activists alleged. Videos of tree-felling went viral on social media. The site of the proposed car shed saw heavy police deployment as hundreds of people gathered there late Friday night to stop trees from being hacked. (Express Photos by Amit Chakravarty)

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Residents and environmentalists have been demanding that the car shed be shifted and the trees be protected instead. Protesters fear that the car depot will destroy biodiversity and pave the way for further development and land exploitation in Aarey. (Express Photos by Amit Chakravarty)