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Covid-19 Crisis: Dead Bodies found floating in Ganga across the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar

Recent developments in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have shocked everyone in the country and have brought attention once again to the mismanagement of the Covid-19 crisis. Bodies have been spotted in the holy river Ganga in the past few days, in different towns and villages of UP and Bihar. The condition that these dead bodies were being found in, is also very disturbing. Some of these are half-burnt, some wrapped in a protective cover, while others are just spotted without any such covering on them. The most concerning thing about such incidents is that they are happening on a regular basis now, where reports are coming daily from different parts of the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, about such bodies washing up on the banks of river Bodies and some also being dumped into shallow pits on the banks of rivers.

Reason behind bodies being found in River bodies:

More than a hundred bodies were found floating in the Gangas in Ghazipur after locals disposed of the bodies in the river in the absence of wood, it is believed. The residents of the area also said that a large number of people who are dying are being disposed of in the Ganga river due to the lack of availability of firewood and the possible fear of infection from the affected dead bodies. After the matter came to light, when covered by the national as well as International Media, the whole state administration along with the District Magistrate of the area took cognizance of the matter and promised action in the case. 

Uttar Pradesh’s Balia was also in the news for a similar kind of situation a couple of days back, and a recent incident is again being reported in the media about a village in PM Modi’s constituency Varanasi, where bodies are seen floating along the coast on Thursday. A total of 7 bodies were spotted in Sujabad village of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency Varanasi, according to the local authorities of the area.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has recently issued notices to the Union Jal Shakti Ministry, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, after receiving complaints about several bodies found floating in the Ganga river in UP and Bihar, while asking for an action taken report within four weeks.

Politics revolving the dead bodies:

The current Bihar administration has claimed that the bodies are floating in from Uttar Pradesh since the river Ganga travels a large part of the state of UP before entering Bihar. Meanwhile, the neighbouring state has denied the charge, whereas the Centre has expressed concern over such incidents and has asked states along the Ganga to “ensure strict vigilance” and prevent people from dumping bodies in the water.

Residents of Bihar’s Buxar worried about Water Contamination from these Covid-19 affected bodies:

As per a recent article in the Indian Express, the local residents of the Buxar district of Bihar are spotting such bodies on the river banks on a regular basis. Sarita Devi, a homemaker who lives in Buxar, told the Indian Express, “Bodies surface, the government disposes of them. But if even some of the corpses were of Covid patients, what about water purification? Dogs nibbled at those bodies and are now roaming in the villages. How much of a risk is that? No announcement so far has been made from the government about how they plan to address the water contamination. We don’t care if the bodies are from UP or Bihar. We just want to know what danger they pose to us, and how the government plans to protect us.”

It is important to know that the possible contamination of rivers and the transmission of Covid-19 through river bodies should not be a concern- according to the experts. However, people who are directly consuming water from the river in those areas should still exercise caution, said one of the experts to mint.

What does the Opposition say to all of this:

Questioning the Central and State Governments on the issue, Congress National General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi said:-

“Bodies are floating in the Ganga in Ballia and Ghazipur. Reports are coming in of mass burials on the banks of the river in Unnao. Official numbers from cities like Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Jhansi and Kanpur appear to be grossly under-reported.”

“What is happening in Uttar Pradesh is inhuman and criminal. The government is busy image building while people are suffering unimaginably. There must be an immediate judicial enquiry headed by a high court judge into these events”- she demanded.

Samajwadi Party President and former CM of Uttar Pradesh also took to his Twitter account on Thursday and lashed out at the government. He tweeted:

Bodies found floating in the Ganges are not a statistic, they’re someone’s father, mother, brother and sister. What has transpired shakes you to your core. There has to be accountability from the very government that has failed its people so badly.”

PIL before Supreme Court demanding investigation in the case of floating bodies:

On Thursday, A Public Interest Litigation has been filed before the Supreme Court asking for the creation of a special investigating agency, which will be tasked to investigate the deaths of 100 people whose bodies were found floating in the Ganga in Buxar, Bihar and Ghazipur and Unnao districts of Uttar Pradesh. The PIL also wants post-mortems to be conducted of the bodies that have been recovered, from different places across UP and Bihar.

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