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Cases against Aarey Protesters Will Be Withdrawn Within a Month, Says Maharashtra Minister

Local citizens protest against the cutting of trees in Aarey forest to pave way for metro car shed, in Mumbai on August 31, 2019. (Image: PTI)

Local citizens protest against the cutting of trees in Aarey forest to pave way for metro car shed, in Mumbai on August 31, 2019. (Image: PTI)

The Mumbai Police had filed cases against several protesters, including green activists, last October after they hit the streets to oppose felling of trees in the Aarey Colony.

Mumbai: The cases filed against Aarey metro car shed protesters will be dropped within a month, Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Satej Patil said on Thursday. The statement comes after Minister of State for Home Patil met some of the protesters in Mumbai today.

“There is a due process to withdraw the cases. I spoke to them (the protesters who met him) on the issue. I assured them that the word we gave to them on behalf of the Maha Vikas Aghadi will be kept,” he said outside the state legislature building in south Mumbai.

"The cases will be withdrawn in the coming one month,” Patil said.

The Mumbai Police had filed cases against several protesters, including green activists, in October last year after they hit the streets to oppose felling of trees in the Aarey Colony, a green belt in suburban Goregaon, to make way for a car shed which is part of the metro-3 project.

The Supreme Court had ordered a stay on the deforestation activity in the days that followed, but over 2,000 trees had already been cut down by authorities by then.

The Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government, which assumed office on November 28 last year, had in December announced withdrawal of the cases filed against metro car shed protesters.

These cases were filed when the BJP-led government was in power.

Protesters were booked under IPC sections related to unlawful assembly and assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharging duty, among others.

Felling of trees had drawn sharp criticism from non-BJP parties, including the Shiv Sena which was a constituent of the saffron alliance government.

first published:February 27, 2020, 16:51 IST