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Unclaimed Dead Bodies Floating In the Ganges River

  As India is reeling from the massive upsurge in Covid-19 cases, a new horrifying event strikes. Dozens of bodies of suspected COVID-19 victims washed up on the banks of the River Ganges in northern India. At least 45 bodies were seen floating in the Ganges in Uttar Pradesh's Ballia and Ghazipur regions. Most of the bodies that are fished out from the river are decomposed and bloated. This led to triggering fears among the locals in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
The local people claimed that they had been complaining about the smell for the past few days. But authorities had only taken action upon hearing the news about the bodies found downstream in the state of Bihar. A second wave of the Coronavirus is devastating everywhere in India and the death rates are being rising significantly in recent weeks.
Most of the country's crematoriums have run out of space. The locals believe that the shortage of wood for funeral pyres might be one of the reasons why corpses are being abandoned in this manner.
The authorities said that they haven't yet determined the cause of death of the victims. According to the officials in Bihar, the health professionals who are working through the night retrieved 71 such bodies.
Ballia, Uttar Pradesh District Magistrate Aditi Singh said that some bodies have been found in very bad condition under the Ballia-Buxar Bridge. She has also added that the Sub divisional Magistrate and the circle officer are probing into this incident. Singh further noted that funeral rites of the dead bodies will be performed with due respect.
Neither Bihar nor Uttar Pradesh is willing to take the blame for these unclaimed dead bodies. Uttar Pradesh’s ADG (Law and order) Prashant Kumar told The Indian Express: “The bodies have been found in Bihar, and it is the responsibility of the Bihar government to investigate them and take further action. It is not right to blame UP.”
As per the Superintendent of Police, Vipin Tada, the exact number of bodies discovered was not yet known. He added that seeing the wind direction, it looks like the bodies have come from Bihar. Tada said, "The bodies were old. In Bihar, there is a tradition of disposing dead bodies in the river." On the other hand, Buxar, Bihar’s SP Neeraj Kumar said “Some of the bodies could have floated in from UP. It is subject of investigation for Bihar and UP police”.
The central government has taken serious note of this issue. Union Jal (Water) Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat seeks an investigation by both the states.
[Narendra] Modi government is committed in maintaining piousness and continuity of mother Ganges. The States [Bihar and UP] concerned must take cognizance of the matter immediately,” he tweeted. The Uttar Pradesh government has already passed an order directing people to stop Jal Samadhi – a ritual followed by some communities in which bodies are disposed of, throwing them in the river. “This order is being followed strictly in the state,” uttered ADG Kumar.
Experts have pointed out that coronavirus transmission cannot happen through water from the bodies of the suspected Covid-19 patients, fished out of the Ganges. Satish Tare, professor at IIT-Kanpur, said that dumping of dead bodies in the Ganges or its tributaries or sub-tributaries is a serious matter, particularly at a time when the country is grappling with 2nd wave of COVID-19 crisis.
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