NEW DELHI – After the Supreme Court on Monday stopped the cutting of trees in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony until October 21 following protests by environmentalists, detained Jammu and Kashmir politician Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter used the development to highlight the situation in her state. “Aarey trees > Kashmiri lives,” read a tweet from Mehbooba Mufti’s account, which is operated by her daughter Iltija. While cheering Mumbai’s green activists, she said the people of Jammu and Kashmir had been denied the right to “free speech and expression”.
“Glad that activists were able to stop the felling of trees at Aarey. One wonders why the Kashmiris have been deprived of the very same right to free speech and expression. GOI (Government of India) claims they are now at par with other Indians but the truth is they’ve been stripped of even fundamental rights,” said the former chief minister’s tweet.
Glad that activists were able to stop felling of trees at Aarey. One wonders why Kashmiris have been deprived of the very same right to free speech & expression. GOI claims they are now at par with other Indians but truth is they’ve been stripped of even fundamental rights.
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) October 7, 2019
Ms Mufti has been under detention since August 5, when the centre announced its two massive decisions– to revoke special status to Jammu and Kashmir and to split the state into two union territories.
Before announcing its move, the centre had rushed in thousands of paramilitary into the state and placed restrictions on large gatherings. It also blocked telecom lines and either arrested or detained hundreds of political leaders as precautionary measures.
The BJP has taken exception to her tweet.
“While she is entitled to have a point of view, she has made a rather unfortunate comparison to say that the Supreme Court is not concerned with issues, and that too with Jammu and Kashmir. The Supreme Court has heard matters, in fact, ironically, her own daughter went to the Supreme Court and was allowed to meet with her family members and to meet with her mother,” BJP leader Nalin Kohli said.
“This appears to be the mindset of such people, who will speak for the Supreme Court as if it’s the best institution when they get judgements or orders in their favour, but when they want to do politics, they will even drag the top court and make it a target,” he added.
The cutting of trees in Aarey Colony to make space for a car shed has become a massive issue in poll-bound Maharashtra, with thousands of Mumbaikars hitting streets to protest against the decision. 29 activists were arrested on Friday, when authorities began cutting trees following the Bombay High Court’s refusal to intervene in the matter.
The centre today told the Supreme Court that no more trees need to be cut at Mumbai’s Aarey.