In the Aravallis, a protest with poems and tree hugs.

Where the breath has no smoke flavor and PM 2.5 is low, where the lungs do not wrinkle and the arms do not reach the nebulizer, began a poem recited by a protester in a recent protest against deforestation in Aravalli forests of Hariana . The poem – an allusion to Rabindranath Tagore's famous poem 'Where The Mind Is Without Fear' – was one of the many songs and poems sung at the protest held by city residents in the Aravalli forest in Gurgaon last week. Named Aravalli Calling, the protest was organised by citizen groups in Gurgaon and called on the administration to halt the depleting forest cover in the state.

The residents gathered at an area in Sector 54, which was recently cleared of trees and vegetation, and formed a human chain to demonstrate their opposition to deforestation in the area. "We want our protest to serve as a stark reminder of what is at stake. The idea is to bring focus on the plight of the Aravalli s threatened by illegal tree felling and constructions," said Gaurav Sarup, one of the protest ers. The protest then moved deeper inside the adjoining forests, where a symbolic Chipko protest was held, with the protest ers hugging the trees and singing songs and reciting poems.

aravali-2 The protest ers formed a human chain to oppose deforestation



The protest also marked one year of the passing of the Punjab Land Preservation Act Amendment by the Hariana government. Many green activists have called the legislation harmful for green cover in Hariana , and the Aravalli s in particular, as it opens up forest areas for construction use. Neelam Ahluwalia, one of the campaigners, said, "It has been a year of us campaigning actively against the act but the administration refuses to take note. We wanted to draw attention to it again. It’s a way of building the pressure on them and to remind them that we haven’t forgotten about the issue at hand. None of us are activists but residents, people from different walks of life, people holding different jobs but concerned about Hariana ’s depleting forest cover."

aravali-3 A young tree hugger also joined the protest

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