Bodies floating in Ganga trigger Covid panic in Bihar

Wednesday 12th May 2021 07:26 EDT

Residents of Chausa village in Bihar’s Buxar woke up to the sight of half-burnt bodies dumped in the Ganga washing ashore near Mahadev Ghat. Villagers said they saw at least 150 corpses, suspected to be of Covid-19 victims, floating down the river at dawn. The Buxar district administration pegged the number at around 30. “The bodies are not of local residents. It seems they were dumped in neighbouring UP three to four days ago,” Buxar DM Aman Samir said. Instructions have been issued to intensify river patrolling.”

A resident of the Mahadev Ghat said that he and other eyewitnesses counted not less than 150 bodies. “The situation is dangerous. People in areas like Katgharwa, Kamharia and Chausa, among others, are in shock. They are now frightened to even visit the ghat for funerals,” he said.

Prem Swaroopam, executive officer of the Buxar Municipal Council, said that a probe had been initiated into “people dumping bodies” in the river. “We have formed three teams to stop people from disposing of bodies like that. The government will bear the cost of cremating Covid victims in accordance with the official guidelines.”

Sub-divisional magistrate KK Upadhyay said the cremation of the bodies that washed ashore in the morning had begun. He said bodies were found floating in the river in adjoining Ghazipur district of UP, too. Some locals attributed dumping of bodies in the river to the higher cost of organising the cremation of Covid victims and fear of getting infected.

Panic in UP villages

There was panic among locals of UP’s Hamirpur district after they spotted seven bodies floating in the Yamuna, amid news of deaths due to Covid-19. The incident came to light after a video of the bodies floating in the Yamuna went viral on social media. A probe is on, Hamirpur ASP Anoop Kumar said, adding that families in villages still believe in ‘jal samadhi’.

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