A 79-year-old environmentalist was injured on Thursday after an altercation with officials, allegedly from the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), over the removal of trees from Jail Chowrangi area of the city.

Abdul Hameed Dagia told Dawn.com that he had been active in environmental issues for a decade, adding that he was “attacked” after he refused to stop the video documentation of “illegal chopping down of trees”.

His family told Dawn.com that he was rushed to the Aga Khan University Hospital with “several injuries” where he underwent treatment and was later discharged.

His referral later to another hospital, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, said he was brought with complaints of vertigo at 11:32am, two hours after the “alleged assault”.

The letter said he had an abrasion on the left wrist but was otherwise in “unremarkable” condition. It said the patient was being referred to another hospital with medicolegal facilities for hospitalisation.

Dagia’s son submitted a complaint to the Ferozabad police, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com. It said Dagia reached Jail Chowrangi where a “tree-cutter mafia was cutting trees”. It said that as he began filming them, the group presented itself as being from KMC and began “threatening” the environmentalist.

“Despite the threats, he continued filming and was then attacked, beaten up and cursed.”

It said the Ferozabad police were alerted and subsequently arrested an individual from the group who continued to present himself as being from the KMC.

However, Karachi Mayor Murtaza Wahab told Dawn.com that he was informed that Dagia had sparked the altercation with abusive language.

Questioned by Dawn.com about the alleged altercation, he said: “I have checked with [KMC] Parks Department. They have informed me that they were working on the replacement of Conocarpus trees with local indigenous ones on Shaheed-i-Millat Road.

“Dagia sahib came and tried to stop them. As per them, it was Dagia sahib who began to use offensive language. The chairman of Town Municipal Corporation Jinnah also initially visited the place to stop the work but when he saw the replacement work, he ended up planting a tree himself.”

Earlier in the day, the city mayor said KMC officials were replacing Conocarpus trees at Shaheed-i-Millat Road with local varieties.

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