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On Saturday, a video in which the Mumbai Police can be seen manhandling a man and pushing him into a police van went viral on social media.

The police allegedly pushed him around and threatened him with an FIR after he questioned the cutting of a hundred-year-old tree in the city by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and asked for valid documents regarding the same. The man has been identified as environmental activist Abhay Azad. A 100-year-old tree was being cut in Vile Parle area [in Mumbai] today. I asked BMC officers for [proof of] permission under which it was being done. I was later forcefully put in police van and was threatened that an FIR would be lodged against me," Abhay Azad was quoted by news agency.

He continued, "Last year, the Maharashtra government declared every tree older than 50 years as a heritage tree. If trees are cut down like this, there will be no heritage left in the city. It is unfair that a citizen is punished for raising his voice for the protection of trees."

In 2021, the Maharashtra government brought in an amendment to the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act, 1975 in order to introduce the concept of 'heritage trees'. Trees with an estimated age of 50 years or more are categorised as 'heritage trees' and are to be given special protection.
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