Guwahati police have taken a very unusual step of using elephants to demolish houses to evict hundreds of people living illegally in a protected forest area in the remote area of the state Assam. The eviction drive was conducted on the directions of the Guwahati High Court for clearing forest land from the intruders. Encroachers attempted to obstruct the operation and police had to fire teargas shells.
This use of elephants to demolish settlements is opposed by many environmentalists, as it runs opposite to their natural instincts and can cause them serious injury. The administration says thatthe elephants are able to reach some structures more easily than machines.
The state minister, Pramila Brahma, stated that the area was originally a habitat of elephants, but due to unauthorized settlements animals were forced to leave their natural habitat for food and survival. About 6,000 people have built homes inside the wildlife sanctuary at 24 locations, which has left many animals homeless.