The Home Department on July 5 finally issued orders to the Mumbai Police to withdraw the cases filed against those who staged an agitation against the chopping of 2,500 trees in Aarey Colony to pave the way for the construction of the Metro 3 carshed. The police force has been completing the necessary formalities.
Mumbai Police had filed cases against protesters under various sections of the Indian Penal Code in October 2019, when they had tried to stop authorities from cutting 2,500 trees in Aarey Colony. The Home Department’s order came one year and seven months after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in December, 2019, had announced that these cases would be withdrawn.
Home Department desk officer Prashant Holkar has asked the Director General of Police to withdraw cases against the protestors. Similar instructions were issued to the Mumbai Police Commissioner. The Home Department has, however, asked to initiate steps for the withdrawal of cases after assessment that there were no cases pending in court, tribunal or commission in this regard.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Member of the Parliament (MP) Supriya Sule had visited Aarey Colony, met protesters and urged the CM to withdraw the cases. Similar demand was made by Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad, who had also expressed his support to the protestors.
Environment activist Zoru Bhathena tweeted, “After many months of follow up, the Home Department has finally issued orders to @MumbaiPolice to withdraw the cases filed against Aarey Colony protestors. Thank You @CMOMaharashtra @supriya_sule @Dwalsepatil @AUThackeray & @iAditiTatkare for doing the right thing. Aarey send its gratitude.”