The Bihar government on Tuesday said altogether 71 bodies have been fished out from the Ganges in Buxar district, where these were found floating in the river, triggering suspicion that the abandoned corpses could be those of COVID-19 patients. State Water Resources Minister Sanjay Kumar, a key aide of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, came out with a series of tweets, asserting that the bodies had flown downstream from neighbouring Uttar Pradesh.
“The Bihar government is seized of the matter of unfortunate case of floating mortal remains in river Ganga…The bodies have floated into Bihar from UP,” said Jha, adding, doctors have confirmed upon post-mortem that the deaths had taken place “four-five days” ago.
He said the chief minister was pained at both the tragedy as well as the “harm” to river Ganga. “He has always been particular about the purity and uninterrupted flow of the river and has asked the administration to intensify patrolling to ensure this is not repeated.
“Last rites of 71 bodies performed as per protocols. A net has been placed in the Ganges in Ranighat, bordering UP and Bihar. We have advised the UP administration to be vigilant. Our administration is keeping vigil, too. Advise all to give respect to the dead and also to Maa Ganga,” Jha added. A large number of bloated corpses were seen floating in the river bed in Chausa block of Buxar district on Monday, triggering shock waves.
Though some news channels claimed these were of COVID-19 patients who might have been abandoned by resource- starved family members or dumped by callous officials, the local administration had strongly denied the same, asserting that none of the deceased was a local resident, and the bodies had flown downstream from adjoining UP districts.