Over a month ago the news surfaced that 2,200 trees would be chopped down in Aarey colony to make space for the Mumbai metro. Consequently, concerned citizens and environmental activists protested and submitted petitions, in order to put a stop to such a massive loss to the environment.
Became a link in the human-chain at Aarey to protest against the felling of 2700+ trees.— Durga Bhosle-Shinde (@nowdurga) September 1, 2019
Move the car-shed to an alternate location!
These trees belong to us Mumbaikars, so back off!@AUThackeray ji, I'm sure you'll save the day!#SaveAarey #SHIVSENAwithAAREY #IAmWithAarey pic.twitter.com/p9ERgrAHWg
However, sadly, in a major setback, the Bombay High Court dismissed the plea and allowed for the felling of over 2,600 trees. And now, in a shocking act, the metro rail authorities began felling trees at night, even as activists stormed the site to save the forest.
#WATCH: People gathered in protest at #AareyForest against the felling of trees there, earlier tonight. They were later removed from spot by police. Bombay HC has dismissed all petitions against BMC decision which allowed felling of more than 2700 trees there, for metro car shed. pic.twitter.com/saT4MaHWsq— ANI (@ANI) October 4, 2019
As per NDTV, once an order to cut the trees is approved, the order has to be uploaded on the government website and after a period of 15 days, the process can begin. But in the present case, hours after the Bombay HC dismissed the petition, the authorities started the process for felling trees.
This is right now at #aareyforest. Citizens gather at this ungodly hour to protest against the illegal felling of trees. Already 200 trees have been cut. Join in if you can. #SaveAareySaveMumbai #saveaareyforest pic.twitter.com/QRK8th3cha— a_wandering_paradox (@Megha2006) October 4, 2019
Reportedly, almost 300 trees were felled before environmentalists stormed the site, forcing the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation workers to stop. Soon after, many of the protestors were arrested and detained.
In Dahisar Police station, 26 or more people were detained. Out of them nine are women. Out of nine women five are Adivasis and four are college students.
I have been forcibly evicted by the cops and I wasn’t even breaking the law! The cops in the car wont even tell me where I am being taken ... this is insane @MumbaiPolice— Priyanka Chaturvedi (@priyankac19) October 5, 2019
Allegedly, the authorities resumed chopping trees later in the night and continued till early morning. As per reports, the police have now restricted entry into the Aarey colony and barricaded the entrances.
We are expediting our extinction!— Anupam | अनुपम (@AnupamConnects) October 4, 2019
In a city prone to floods during monsoon rains and at a time when #ClimateStrike has captured global narrative, it is painful to see 2646 trees being cut in #AareyForest, considered Mumbai's green lung and home to 30 tribal villages.#SaveAarey pic.twitter.com/IJxjIglrAm
People took to Twitter to call for urgent help, share videos of the protests, and condemn the authorities for this dreadful action:
Jallianwala bagh types massacre at #Aarey .. congratulations Mumbaikars. . Lungs Of city have been started to get slashed .. thank you @ShivSena & @BJP4India .. #blackdayAarey #AareyForest pic.twitter.com/yRdmfiraNM— Niraj Bhatia (@bhatia_niraj23) October 4, 2019
In the cover of darkness the axe falls on our trees . RIP #AareyForest ... we failed you . My heart breaks to know that by morning many proud erect trees will have fallen to human greed . pic.twitter.com/VJdnRl7o6c— Onir (@IamOnir) October 4, 2019
#AareyForest is being murdered right now, in the dead of night. @narendramodi @Dev_Fadnavis , please don't do this.— VISHAL DADLANI (@VishalDadlani) October 4, 2019
Please make one call and get this stopped, at least until the SC has a chance to review the… https://t.co/TDdh8cr8ho
India, remember tonight, 2.45 AM. When 300 trees were cut illegally, despite people's protest.— Shruti Chaturvedi (@adhicutting) October 4, 2019
Remember that your heroes Akshay Kumar, Shankar Mahadevan and Amitabh Bachhan participated in campaigns to let this happen.
Remember this when you run out of breath. #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
In order to save Aarey, many citizens finally became more than just keyboard warriors - and yet, in the face of corporate greed, the environment had to suffer. In a quest to leave behind a 'more developed' world for our future generations, we may end up leaving behind an uninhabitable planet.