In a shocking turn of events, over 2000 dead bodies have been found buried along an 1140 km stretch of the Ganga river in Uttar Pradesh, reported Dainik Bhaskar. This report comes shortly after around 100 bodies were found floating in Ganga in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. About 350 bodies were found buried near the Mahadevi Ganga ghat in Kannauj.
Workers were seen putting sand on the bodies to hide them. Rajnarayan Pandey, a worker on the ghat, said that these bodies come out of the ground once the water level increases and then flow down to other districts. Over 400 bodies were found around half an hour from Khereshwar ghat in Kanpur. The report said that the horrific scene included dogs and crows eating the flesh off of the bodies. A police team arrived and tried to cover the bodies with sand.
The biggest grave was found in the Unnao district, with 900 bodies buried around Shuklaganj ghat and Buxar ghat. Two hundred eighty bodies were found buried in the Ghazipur district. One hundred ten bodies had been found two days ago in Ghazipur, and authorities and locals are still finding bodies at a rate of 10 to 12 per day. Twenty bodies were found in the Fatehpur district, and around 50 bodies were found in Prayagraj, Varanasi, Chandauli, Bhadohi, and Mirzapur. Several bodies were also spotted near Gulabi ghat in Patna.
On Tuesday, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said that the center was taking cognizance of this matter. He tweeted, “Floating bodies in Ganga in Buxar, Bihar is unfortunate. It is surely a matter of investigation. Modi government is committed to maintaining piety and continuity of mother Ganga. States concerned must take cognizance of the matter immediately”. Local authorities also installed a massive net in Bihar to block any bodies flowing downriver.
Uttar Pradesh and Bihar officials were seen playing the blame game. Buxar Superintendent of Police Neeraj Kumar said, “We have so far fished out 71 bodies from the Ganga. We conducted postmortem of all bodies and have also taken DNA and Covid samples. Some bodies could have floated in from UP. It is subject of investigation for Bihar and UP police.”.
At the same time, Uttar Pradesh Additional Director General of Police Prashant Kumar, said, “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.,” reported the Indian Express. It is still to be ascertained if the bodies found were of covid positive patients.
An order has already been passed to stop Jal Samadhi, a ritual followed by some communities to dispose of dead bodies. The large numbers of bodies cause concern as they put the government’s covid death numbers in doubt. Contamination of water is another major cause for concern as rotting dead bodies carry several germs in addition to the already deadly coronavirus.
The West Bengal government is also on alert around the Malda district, where the Ganga river enters the state. “We have started vigil. Mechanised country boats and speed boats have been deployed and patrolling has been stepped up in the river , particularly at Manikchak. Patrolling in on at night as well with the help of searchlights,” a Malda district official said.