Aarey protest: AAP seeks inquiry into police excesses

Police stand guard outside the Aarey Colony after demonstrators held a protest demanding that the Mumbai Metro Rail Corp Ltd (MMRCL) not cut trees to build a train parking shed for an upcoming subway line, in Mumbai, India, October 5, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Preeti Sharma Menon on Wednesday demanded a high-level inquiry against senior police officers who she said lathi-charged and assaulted activists including herself when they were protesting against tree felling for Metro on October 4 and 5.

Huge protests erupted in Aarey Colony area here on the night of October 4 and on October 5 when the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation began to cut trees for car shed of Metro phase 3.

Sharma, in a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Director General of Police S K Jaiswal and Chief Justice of Bombay High Court Pradeep Nandrajog, alleged that a deputy commissioner-level officer hit her and other protesters with lathi (baton), and demanded that he should be suspended.

"I also demand inquiry against all the officers who were involved in violent attacks on citizens of Mumbai," she said.

"Mumbai Police began slapping, shoving, pushing, pinching, lathi-charging and dragging citizens. I reached around midnight and was lathi-charged....this was not merely excessive use of force but a violent attack on ordinary citizens of India who were only trying to do their constitutional duty to protect trees," her letter said.

She also demanded inquiry into illegal detention of "hundreds of citizens" including women and girls at night during the protests. 

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