No more police station visits, payment of surety for Aarey protestors

In a huge relief to those who had been arrested by Mumbai Police for protesting against the cutting of trees at Aarey, the bail conditions have bee relaxed by the Dindoshi court.

There were 29 protestors who had been arrested at the beginning of October for protesting for the felling of trees that took place late into the evening after dark.

The accused, many of them students, had their exams and were granted bail only on Sunday, October 6 from a holiday court.

However, the court had imposed restrictions which meant that to be released the accused had to furnish personal bonds for the time being and later Rs 7,000 surety was to be furnished.

Also, the accused protestors had been ordered to mark their attendance at the police station once in a fortnight in between 6 and 9 pm.

The protestors duly did so thrice when a few days earlier, newly appointed Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray decided to withdraw cases against these accused while also stating that no more trees would be felled in Aarey.

Uddhav Thackeray had also stated that the construction of the metro car shed at Aarey would also be reviewed.

The protestors had a court hearing and the police station attendance marking, both to be done on December 4. “We had filed an application for modification bail order. The ground for this was that the accused are not hardcore criminals and no one has a case against them. Many of them are tribals and students so they should not be made to go to police station every fortnight like criminals,” said Archana, a lawyer representing the protestors.

Thankfully for them, the government pleader informed the court that the government is planning to drop the case against the protestors.

Even the lawyer representing the protestors apprised the court of this move which has already been announced by the government.

On hearing this the court relaxed the bail conditions immediately. Now the accused protestors do not have to attend the police station and pay the surety amount for sustaining the bail further.

Shashikant Sonawane, a resident of Virar who had been arrested by police on October 4 said, “When the state government has said that they will drop the case against us, we did have an inkling that there would be some sort of relief to us right now.”

Manoj Kumar Reddy, another protestor who was present in court to mark his attendance said, “Many of us had not yet paid the surety amount so we don’t have to pay this now.”

Parmila Bhoir, a resident of Aarey who had been arrested along with others, too was elated and felt that those days of them being treated like criminals for trying to save trees were finally going to be behind them.

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