Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday took cognisance of bodies found floating in the Ganga in Ballia district and said the last rites should be done according to the deceased’s religious beliefs. He also noted that the dumping of bodies in water causes pollution.
At least 45 bodies were seen floating in floating near the Ujiyar, Kulhadia and Bharauli ghats in the Narahi area on Tuesday evening. Late on Tuesday night, seven more bodies were found, taking the total count of bodies to 52, an official said. District officials have begun performing the last to avoid Covid-19 contagion. The dumping of bodies also increases the risk of spreading infections in communities inhabiting the banks of rivers, officials said.
Meanwhile, the Bihar government on Tuesday said altogether 71 bodies have been fished out from the Ganges in Buxar district and were later cremated as per protocols. Some samples were, however, collected for DNA testing.
Bihar Additional chief secretary (home) Chaitanya Prasad said that the bodies in Buxar had flown downstream from neighbouring Uttar Pradesh. Speaking to News18, he said, “All these dead bodies were being dumped in Ganga from Uttar Pradesh, which flowed and stopped at Chausa and Mahavir Ghat in Buxar (Bihar border). An investigation has been launched on the orders of the Bihar government regarding the issue.”
Officials of both UP and Bihar have discussed the issue with their counterparts, including the Chief Secretaries, Additional Chief Secretaries, DGPs and District Magistrates, sources said.
Bihar authorities have raised strong objections to the dumping of bodies amid Covid-19 pandemic concerns. However, both the states have agreed to implement strict Covid-19 protocol in bordering districts. As per reports, a huge net has also been put up in the Ganges near Raniganj, Buxar.
A video of bodies found buried in shallow pits near the banks of the Ganga in Unnao had also gone viral. The viral video showed dogs nibbling on the corpses.
The Allahabad High Court had earlier expressed concern over the under-reporting of Covid-19 deaths and has asked the state to record the deaths of those who died with Covid symptoms even if their tests could not be done.
Uttar Pradesh reported 329 more Covid-19 deaths and 18,125 fresh cases in the last 24 hours.