A day after dozens of bodies were found floating in the Ganga near Buxar in Bihar, more bodies were seen in Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh, 55 km from the Bihar town, on Tuesday (May 11).
Officials in Bihar had told the media that the corpses had flowed down from Uttar Pradesh, as their state does not have a tradition of consigning bodies to water. The bodies, many suspect, are of COVID patients as there is no COVID protocol at rural crematoriums.
They alleged that those manning cremation ghats were overcharging from the relatives of the deceased. “Many bereaved family members were led to immerse the bodies of their departed relatives into the river,” a villager was quoted as saying by PTI.
Local UP officials have said that they are investigating the matter. “We have received the information. Our officers are at the site and an investigation is underway. We are trying to find out where they came from,” MP Singh, District Magistrate of Ghazipur, told news agency ANI.
Local residents complained of putrid smell and accused the authorities of ineptitude. “We informed the administration about the matter, but no action was taken. If the situation continues like this, there is fear of us getting infected by COVID,” said Akhand, a resident.
Locals told news channels that following the Hindu cremation rituals, people either burn their dead or immerse the bodies in a river. Due to the lack of firewood at the crematoriums in the wake of the rise in COVID-related deaths, people immersed them in the river.
Union Minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat tweeted that he has asked the states concerned to “take immediate cognizance”. “The incident of corpses found floating in the Ganga in Buxar region of Bihar is unfortunate. This is definitely a matter of investigation. The Modi government is committed to the cleanliness Mother Ganga,” he tweeted.
On May 11, over 100 decomposing bodies washed up on the banks of the Ganga in Buxar, spreading panic among locals. Dozens of bodies were seen floating in the river at Chausa town, located near the Bihar-UP border.
The river separates Bihar from UP. There are dozens of villages in the Sevrai and Zamania tehsils of Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh. While there is Bara and Gahmar in Ghazipur (UP) on one bank, Chausa (Bihar) is on the other.
(With agency inputs)