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Aarey War Reaches CJI's Door as Activists Seek Stay on Axing of Trees to Save Mumbai's 'Green Lung'

A delegation of students will visit CJI Ranjan Gogoi's residence in Delhi and request him to exercise his special jurisdiction and put a stay on the felling of trees in Aarey.

News18.com

Updated:October 6, 2019, 11:56 AM IST
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Aarey War Reaches CJI's Door as Activists Seek Stay on Axing of Trees to Save Mumbai's 'Green Lung'
A delegation of students will visit CJI Ranjan Gogoi's residence in Delhi and request him to exercise his special jurisdiction and put a stay on the felling of trees in Aarey.

New Delhi: In a last-ditch effort to stop the felling of over 2,500 trees of the Aarey forest in Mumbai, the environmental activists have turned to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) to intervene in the matter.

On Sunday, a delegation of students will visit CJI Ranjan Gogoi's residence in Delhi and request him to exercise his special jurisdiction and “go out of the conventional way to put a stay on the felling of trees in Aarey by Mumbai Authorities”.

In a statement to the media, the student delegation said the decision was taken as “there is no time left for filing an appeal petition and going through legal technicalities as by then Aarey will be cleared off by the Mumbai Authorities”.

Over 1,000 trees were felled in north Mumbai’s Aarey colony on Saturday for a Metro rail project despite vociferous protests as clashes broke out between the police and green activists, leading to arrest of at least 29 persons.

Tree cutting at Aarey colony in Mumbai

People gather to protest at Aarey as authorities cut trees after HC nod. (PTI photo)

The families of those in judicial custody will on Sunday hold a press conference to highlight the issue and share their concerns.

“Twenty-nine Mumbaikars comprising students, adivasis and professionals have been detained and sent to judicial custody for participating in the peaceful protest against cutting of trees in Aarey. The families of these detainees would like to share their concerns with the media and express their views on the events of the past two days,” they said in a joint statement.

The police on Saturday imposed section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in Aarey, restricting movements and gathering of groups, and cordoned off the area. Activists tried to get relief from the Bombay High Court, by approaching the court again on Saturday and seeking a stay to tree cutting, so that they could approach the Supreme Court. But the bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and AK Menon, who granted the petitioners an urgent hearing in the chamber, refused to grant a stay.

Apart from the 29 arrested, 55 were also detained, including NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad, Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi, Sena leader and former Mayor Shubha Raul, from the protest site.

The protests began on Friday evening when MMRCL, within hours of the High Court dismissing four petitions challenging the permission granted by the civic body's tree authority to fell about 2700 trees, started the tree cutting under the cover of darkness.

The photos and videos from the midnight protest were widely shared on the social media as the netizens waged an online battle against the move. Many came out in criticism of the state government's decision to allow the felling and also of the Bombay HC.

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.

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