Environmental crusaders faced a setback on Friday as Bombay High Court dismissed petitions against the felling of nearly 2700 tress in the city's Aarey Forest to make way for the metro car shed for Mumbai Metro.
Activists had been seeking a ban on the felling and demanding relocation of the depot. However, the court refused to acknowledge Aarey as a forest, allowing authorities to begin felling. Much has happened since the High Court verdict on Friday.
Twenty-nine people were arrested, Section 144 imposed and roads leading to Aarey blocked by police as protesters escalated their fight to save Mumbai’s ‘green lung’.
While protests on ground have been intense, netizens have been waging the battle online. Many came out in criticism of the state government's decision to allow the felling and also of the Bombay HC. Photos and videos from the midnight protest were also widely shared.
How do these people become lawyers? They arnt even humans. #TreeAct says after permission is out online there is a 15 day cooling off period before cutting.— Preeti Sharma Menon (@PreetiSMenon) October 5, 2019
Violations - Violated MCC by releasing the order & Began cutting trees withing hours of order. #SaveAarey #AareyForest https://t.co/KkgKWMBsH8
My kind request to all those Mumbaikars who have decided to vote for Shiv Sena and the BJP, please stop shedding crocodile tears on #AareyForest and stop tweeting or pretending to protest.— Sanjay Jha (@JhaSanjay) October 5, 2019
Walk the talk.
The way Fadnavis Govt rushed after HC verdict to chop off #AareyForest trees in the night, arrested #SaveAarey campaigners & now blocked all roads going there is shocking.— Kanchan Srivastava (@Ms_Aflatoon) October 5, 2019
What is the hurry? Who do you want to appease before polls? pic.twitter.com/3HGemwXkb8
Here is a dare.. the Shiv Sena including #AdityaThackeray "claim" they are against the trees at #Aarey being cut. Why did @mybmc run by @ShivSena— Tehseen Poonawalla (@tehseenp) October 5, 2019
Give permission ?
If permission not given dare the Shiv Sena to break the alliance . #AareyForest
Over 300 out of the proposed 2646 trees hacked to death in #AareyForest. In most cases 'Development' happens at the expense of Environmental degradation.Can we afford such a 'development'— Rachit Seth (@rachitseth) October 5, 2019
We have killed the Mithi River in Mumbai & River Yamuna is already on the deathbed in Delhi
Yet, some defended the felling.
UN lauded Delhi Metro for reducing 6.3 lakh tonn pollution yearly.— THE SKIN DOCTOR (@theskindoctor13) October 5, 2019
An acre of forest absorbs ~2.5 tonn pollution yearly. #AareyForest's disputed area is 81 acre (2.5 x 81= 202.5)
6.3 lakh tonn vs 203 tonn. Pick ur side.
Ps. That 81 acre isn't lost either, it's being replaced.
-Teen travelling in Bullet Train asking undeveloped countries “How Dare They” care about development.— Shash (@pokershash) October 5, 2019
-Actors travelling in SUVs asking local train users to not to be selfish about Metro.
-Celebreties tweeting from bath-tub n asking people to save water.#AareyForest
The Aarey colony, measuring 1,287 hectares and located adjoining the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, is known as a major green lung of the metropolis. However, The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited had argued in court that the project was of paramount importance for the city.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said that he will take a press conference on Aarey exclusively later on "as it is an important issue and we won't let it go".