On March 2, urban conservationist Vijay Nishanth noticed a cruel act in Marathahalli junction. Some 30 trees appeared to be withering and dying. 

Conveniently, the death of the trees would allow a clear view of two advertisement hoardings - one for an iPhone and the other for a jewellery showroom. Later investigations revealed that the hoardings were illegal. 

Investigations also showed that acid had been poured on the roots of the trees - a deliberate attempt to kill them. Activists tried desperately to save the trees and have been slightly successful. 

"Out of 17 trees that were poisoned with chemicals and attacked with acid, three Behandi trees have now shown signs of life as new leaves have started growing in the tree bark. To see the tree coming back to life, it feels great," said Nishanth.

He alleged that an advertisement mafia at large in the city was the one to be blamed as they had poured acid on the tree roots. The mafia, he said, wanted to create an impression that the trees died a natural death.

Following the incident, Nishanth had complained, and a FIR was registered in this connection under the Tree Preservation Act. The BBMP removed the hoardings as well. 

"I want the advertisement company that was responsible for tree massacre to pay a hefty penalty, and the BBMP should also cancel the ad agencies licence," he said.