A tale of greed and cowardice: Trees cut in Aarey in the dead of the night!

On Friday night trees in Aarey Milk Colony, a region regarded as Mumbai’s “green lungs”, were felled, purportedly with full blessings of the ruling dispensation. This, just hours after the Bombay High Court shockingly disposed of all petitions against the felling of over 2,700 trees to make way for a car shed for the Mumbai Metro project. CJP has been following all developments closely and here we try to explain the Aarey issue and how the Save Aarey movement has been struggling to protect the forest.

Different individuals, civil society and environmental action groups, Adivasis and forest dwellers, as well as dedicated individuals have been fighting this uphill battle against an apathetic state administration, hoping that common sense would prevail. But overpowering greed, and perhaps even arrogance, led to trees being cut in Aarey the same day they got the nod from the High Court. Though the fact that the operation took place under the cover of the dark suggests cowardice. Perhaps they thought they could get away with it, but many activists and locals caught them in the act on camera. See for yourself!

Adivasis and other activists numbering close to 200 began gathering even as news of tree cutting equipment being brought to the site spread from about 8 PM. A posse of policemen and BMC officials numbering about 80 were seen forcefully trying to stop the assembly. Protests continued, and twice the police resorted to a violent lathi charge. The protesters continued to gather at Birsa Munda Chowk. Until late in the night when CJP was closely monitoring the situation, the grossly unwarranted, hasty and even illegal felling, continued. Unconfirmed reports say that close to 400 trees were felled in just a few hours. The question remains, why this brute hurry?

A huge protest along the lines of the “Chipko”movement is planned in Aarey on Saturday morning.



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