Mumbai court grants bail to Aarey campaigners, tells them no more protests
A court in Mumbai granted bail to 29 protesters arrested over the last two days on charges of allegedly obstructing and assaulting police personnel on duty during protests against felling of trees at Aarey Milk Colony in Goregaon.
The protestors had rushed to the spot and protested after getting news on social media that the authorities had started cutting trees in Aarey colony on Friday evening soon after the Bombay high court gave the nod for cutting trees.
The trees in the colony are being cut to build a car shed for Mumbai Metro’s phase III.
Additional sessions court judge H C Shende of the holiday court ordered their release on certain conditions, including assurance that they would not take part in protests.
Advocate Sonali Samuel, who represented eight of the protesters, said: “All of them have been granted bail after paying ₹7,000. But they will have to visit the police station after every 15 days and will have to cooperate with the investigating officer.”
However, the protesters are unlikely to walk out of the Thane jail, where most of them are currently lodged, on Sunday pending completion of the legal procedure and other formalities.
The arrests were made over Friday night and Saturday after clashes broke out between the police and green activists opposing cutting of trees by Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) in Aarey Colony in north Mumbai.
The Aarey police as a preventive measure had imposed section 144 of the CrPC (unlawful assembly) and blocked protesters from nearing the site where trees were being cut inside Aarey.
In a press statement, the police said that there were around 100 to 200 people protesting and some of them got into a scuffle with police officials and assaulted them, following which 29 were arrested. Of the 29 arrested, six were women.
Earlier this year, the Aarey Conservation Group (ACG) had filed an SLP challenging the state government’s 2017 notification that removed the 33-hectare land from the ‘No Development Zone’ category to allow construction of the Metro car shed.
Environmentalists said they will move the Supreme Court next week.