Amid protests by activists against thousands of trees being cut at Mumbai's Aarey Colony for the construction of a metro car shed, a student delegation said they will visit Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi's house in Delhi in a bid to seek his intervention in the matter.
The students on a Facebook page said their delegation will meet Chief Justice Gogoi and ask him to "exercise his special jurisdiction and go out of conventional way for stay on felling of trees in Aarey by Mumbai Authorities."
The students, on the Facebook page - "Knock The Doors Of Honorable CJI To #SaveAarey," said they believe that "there is no time for filing an appeal petition and go through legal technicalities as by then Aarey will be cleared off by Mumbai Authorities."
Often referred to as the green lung of Mumbai, Aarey Colony in suburban Goregaon, along with Sanjay Gandhi National Park has over five lakh trees.
Authorities in Mumbai, in a midnight move on Friday, began cutting trees after the Bombay High Court dismissed a plea to stay felling of trees for a metro project, inviting widespread ire. 29 people have been arrested for protesting against the move and were sent to judicial custody. Many other were were reportedly detained. The activists say cutting trees at Aarey Colony is illegal.
Environmentalists on Saturday, moved an application seeking stay on the cutting of trees until the Supreme Court announces its judgement. However, the bench hearing the petition said it would not interfere with the Bombay High Court order that was issued on Friday. The Mumbai Police has banned the gathering of four or more people in Aarey Colony.
The move escalated into a tirade with the Shiv Sena, BJP's ally in Maharashtra, siding with the activists.
Detaining citizens and arresting youth for standing with environment. So much for speaking about environment at global level while we destroy ecosystems here in the middle of the night. https://t.co/BI10eHsUIz— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) October 5, 2019
The protests against felling of trees also sparked twitter campaigns and online 'petitions' such as #AareyChipko #SaveAarey. Several Bollywood stars have also echoed concerns about the loss of green cover and urged people to come together and save the planet.
We have to be stewards of our world treating the planet with respect. Mumbai has few parks for our children, few forests for our wildlife. There has to be another way than cutting the trees in Aarey. We need to work together and save the planet and come together to #SaveAarey— Madhuri Dixit Nene (@MadhuriDixit) October 5, 2019
Massacre is what this is! We are our own worst enemy! Infrastructure can never precede nature! We need to STOP! #SaveAarey— Karan Johar (@karanjohar) October 5, 2019
Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam joined activists to condemn felling of trees and the arrest of protesters. Milind Deora, his party colleague, called the tree cutting "stabbing yourself in the lungs".
Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Sunday backed the cutting of trees in Aarey Colony. "When the first Delhi metro station was constructed, 20-25 trees were cut down. People then protested against it. Today it is the best metro across the world," the minister said.