Tree Under Arrest in Pakistan for More than 100 Years: Fact Check


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Image of Tree Under Arrest in Pakistan for More than 100 Years
Tree Under Arrest in Pakistan for More than 100 Years

Story:

This Tree Under Arrest in Pakistan for More than 100 Years

Other Versions

A Banyan Tree Under Arrest in Pakistan

Fact Check:

An amusing message in circulation online purports to show a Banyan Tree Under Arrest in Pakistan for More than 100 Years. As amusing as it sounds, the message also shows pictures of the tree chained onto ground. Although strange and unbelievable, the story about the Tree Under Arrest in Pakistan is in fact true.

Image of Tree Under Arrest in Pakistan for More than 100 Years

The pictures accompanying the story show a Banyan tree draped in chains on four sides and tethered to the ground. There’s also a metal plate nailed to it with a message in capitals that reads:

“I am Under Arrest”

One evening a British officer, heavily drunk, thought that I was moving from my original location and ordered Mess Sergeant to arrest me. Since then I am under arrest

Why is the Banyan Tree Under Arrest in Pakistan?

Many viewers of the pictures usually think the tree draped in chains is a symbolic expression of slavery or oppression in the past. However, the truth of the matter is humorous. During British rule in 1898 (when Pakistan was part of India), British army officer James Squid saw the old banyan tree lurching towards him. In a state of drunkenness, Squid ordered a soldier to arrest the tree immediately and punish it. The ‘arrest’ continued for years more than a century and subsequently, the Banyan tree became a tourist attraction. The banyan tree is in Khyber Rifles Officers Mess at Landi Kotal Way, in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Peshawar, Pakistan.

On the other hand, The Express Tribune website of Pakistan tribune.com.pk reports locals see the captive tree as symbol of the draconian Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) legacy of the British Raj. They believe the act of the Britisher showing tree under arrest was a way of threatening the tribal people. That is, if the tribals dared to act against the British Raj, they too shall be punished in similar fashion. Nature lovers call the arrest of tree unethical and expect its release from captivity.

Hoax or Fact:

Fact.

References:

British army officer got drunk and arrested a tree in Peshawar, Pakistan


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Prashanth Damarla
Debunker

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