Bodies were seen floating in the Ganga in Uttar Pradesh’s Ballia and Ghazipur districts, according to local residents and the authorities on Tuesday. Meanwhile, at least 71 bodies were fished out from the Ganga in Bihar’s Buxar, which is downstream the two UP districts, triggering suspicion that these could be of COVID-19 patients.
According to Ballia residents, at least 45 bodies were seen floating at the Ujiyar, Kulhadia and Bharauli ghats in the Narahi area.
However, the district authorities did not tell the exact number of bodies found there.
Ballia District Magistrate Aditi Singh in a statement said some bodies in bad condition were seen under the Ballia-Buxar bridge.
She said the Subdivisional Magistrate (Sadar) and the circle officer are probing the matter and the last rites of the dead were performed with due respect.
Superintendent of Police Vipin Tada said he did not know how many bodies were found.
“The bodies were old. In Bihar, there is a tradition of disposing of dead bodies in the river," he said, adding that seeing the wind direction, it seems the bodies came from Bihar.
Meanwhile, bodies were seen floating in Ghazipur’s Gahmar and Bara villages, according to residents there.
The Centre has now asked the states along the Ganga river to ensure strict vigilance to check no dead bodies are dumped in the water bodies. “Ensure strict vigilance along length of the river within territorial jurisdiction of the district to prevent and check such future incidences of people dumping dead bodies in Ganga and its tributaries and of any other activity hazardous for river Ganga and health and hygiene of the area," NMCG Director General Rajiv Ranjan Mishra said in the letter to the chairpersons of the committees.