Save Aarey: My Experience During The Protest & In Police Custody

I was one of the protesters who were present at Aarey when the authorities undertook the cutting of trees at night as soon as Bombay High Court dismissed the petition filed by environmentalists

Its an experience in itself to see a city like Mumbai wake up and fight, come out on the roads to take up this cause! That too for 5 years. One law student and thousands of protestors showed the public might to the government, even though the damage was already done.

Many people came for protest at Aarey and some were arrested but the real heroes are the ones who went inside near the proposed carshed area at night.

…Chaitra Yadavar

I hope the protest continues to save “the Lungs of Mumbai”. The 2000 trees might have already been cut in those 14 hrs, but the government and MMRCL have broken innumerable laws while doing this and we need to keep fighting.

Some of the protestors along with me after released from Kasturba Marg Police station.

Below is some of my experience during the protest and in the Kasturba Marg police station.

  1. The insanity of beginning the tree cutting at night (in the absence of the tree officer) of the same day when the court dismissed the petitions by Vanashakti, drove people to reach Aarey Metro car shed at 9-10 pm on 5th October 2019.
  2. The Police lathi-charged some of the protestors who had gathered there at night.
  3. Police at the police station were irritated at people being handed over to them to keep away from roads, when that area wasn’t even in their jurisdiction. They were anyways frustrated after the whole Navratri duty and election code of conduct. They were over-worked and under pressure. They didn’t have running water in the toilets at Kasturba Marg police station and were getting more frustrated.
  4. Only 1 among the 5 (who had the authority to write) of the 12 policemen and women sitting there had any idea about writing a statement. They kept passing the buck.
  5. Abhay, Ajay Sharma, Rohit, Cara Tejpal and so many people whose names I don’t know were quick with helping the people who were put in the police stations. Thank you, guys!
  6. I and some other girls pressured the police to give us something to eat and they did get us Wada-pavs.
  7. The Adivasis who protested were arrested on the 4th. There was no clue whether they were still in lock-ups?
Trees cut in car shed area. Image source: AareyForest Facebook

Reasons for opposing.

  1. Construction of the Car shed is only going to be a gateway to the more commercial development of land.
  2. They plan to cut trees, make animals homeless and then build a zoo.
  3. Just beside the 32 storey Metro Bhavan and a training academy, they will be creating and giving commercial spaces on lease. Money money money
  4. What kind of FSI will be given to the buildings that come up here, has already been decided.
  5. We let them do this, and these politicians and MMRCL people just multiply these projects all over Mumbai. There will be no nature and no trees left.
  6. A lot of us weren’t born when Film City was being created and trees were cut for it, we apologise for not being born on time.

Think things through before believing the forwards that people are sending, saying that its just 2000 trees, just a car shed and just a small piece of land. It is much more than that.

Article by Chaitra Yadavar

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