Three women were killed and three others injured when a tusker went on the rampage in a cluster of villages near Siliguri in north Bengal on Thursday.
Banu Das (32), Alladi Das (27) and Suju Das (28) were crushed to death by a male elephant early on Thursday morning, said N. C. Bahuguna, Chief Conservator of Forests (North Bengal).
The elephant strayed from the Baikunthpur forests near Siliguri town on Wednesday night and went on to cause a mayhem at a cluster of villages in the Milanpally area, he said.
By the time foresters reached the spot, it had left the villages. Subsequently, it was driven back to the protected area of the forest.
Even though incidents of elephants straying into inhabited areas are quite common, this is the second recent occurrence of a wild animal killing villagers in north Bengal.
Two days ago, a gaur was responsible for the death of two women at a village in Cooch Behar.
Mr. Bahuguna, however, denied that the incidents were related or that there were lapses on the part of the staff on watchtower duty.
“Elephants are always attracted to the villages when paddy or maize is ripening. Although in this instance it probably was attracted by the country liquor brewed by the locals,” he said.
Elephants, especially male ones, are fond of haria, the rice beer that is fermented by the locals. But villagers never admit it because the activity is illegal, he added.