Four people were trampled to death by wild Asiatic elephants in Assam, wildlife officials said on Friday.
A dozen elephants attacked a group of woodcutters late Thursday at the Salna reserved forest area in eastern Assam, about 145 km from Guwahati.
"The herd chased the woodcutters and literally tore apart two of them," said A Das, a wildlife official. A few managed to escape the rampaging herd. Locals and forest officials later recovered the dead bodies from the thickly wooded jungle.
In another incident, two people were killed by elephants in Bihali vilage in northern Assam.
"The herd entered the village and smashed several huts before trampling two people to death," the official said. Forest rangers later chased the herd using firecrackers.
In the past fortnight, herds of wild elephants have been wreaking havoc in several parts of Assam, especially in villages where tribals brew large volumes of rice beer.
According to experts, wild elephants have been moving out of the jungles in search of food with people encroaching upon animal corridors. This has led to an increasing number of elephant attacks on villages.
Elephants have killed 248 people in Assam in the past five years while 268 elephants have died during the same period, many of them victims of retaliation by angry humans, said a wildlife department report released last month.
Villagers often poison the marauding elephants, while in the past they drove them away by beating drums or bursting firecrackers.
Assam has India's largest population of Asiatic elephants, estimated at around 5,300, according to a wildlife census in 2002.