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In the past, elephants were used for executions in several places like Burma, the Malay Peninsula, Brunei, and even in the kingdom of Champa. In Siam, which is now Thailand, elephants were trained to lift condemned people into the air and then trample them to death.

Under the command of a mahout, elephants were used to carry out gruesome executions in various parts of the world. In some cases, they would slowly crush the limbs of the condemned one by one, inflicting a torturous death. The elephants might also toss their victims about, drag them, or even stab them with their tusks before ultimately crushing their skulls to end their suffering.

In Sri Lanka, historical accounts tell of a chilling method of execution where elephants were equipped with sharp blades attached to their tusks. These razor-sharp blades were designed to tear the criminal apart, inflicting unimaginable suffering and adding a gruesome element to the execution process.

Meanwhile, there was a particularly brutal method where criminals were tied to stakes, and then an elephant would charge at them, crushing them to death upon impact. These horrifying practices demonstrate the extent to which elephants were once used as instruments of punishment and terror in different cultures.

In ancient India, both Hindu and Muslim rulers used a brutal method of execution known as “under the feet of elephants” for various offenses. According to the Hindu scripture Manu Smriti, written between 200 BCE and 200 CE, this method was prescribed for crimes such as theft. For instance, if someone stole property, the king had the authority to order the execution of the thieves by trampling them with elephants.

This practice was not limited to theft alone. Tax evaders, rebels, and even enemy soldiers were subjected to this gruesome form of punishment. It was considered a public spectacle, often used to instill fear and deter others from committing similar crimes. For example, historical records indicate that in 1305, the Sultan of Delhi orchestrated a public execution where Mongol prisoners were crushed to death by elephants, turning their deaths into a form of entertainment for the masses.

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