India installs net across Ganges river to deal with bodies of Covid dead

Dozens of bodies of suspected Covid-19 patients have been retrieved from the river as surge in India’s Covid cases continues

Akshita Jain
Thursday 13 May 2021 13:19
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<p>Frame grab from video provided by KK Productions shows police officials stand at the banks of the river where several bodies were found in Ghazipur district in Uttar Pradesh on 11 May, 2021.</p>

Frame grab from video provided by KK Productions shows police officials stand at the banks of the river where several bodies were found in Ghazipur district in Uttar Pradesh on 11 May, 2021.

Authorities in the Indian state of Bihar have installed a net across Ganges after dozens of bodies of suspected Covid-19 victims were retrieved from the river.

While 71 bodies were removed from the water in the Buxar district, at least 25 bodies were found in the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh, according to The Indian Express.

Bihar’s water resources minister Sanjay Kumar Jha said on Wednesday that a net has been placed in the river at Ranighat, bordering Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

“We have advised the Uttar Pradesh administration to be vigilant. Our administration is keeping vigil as well,” he wrote on social media.

He also said that post-mortem examinations of the bodies confirmed that the deaths had taken place four or five days ago.

A Bihar official, who requested not to be named, told The Hindu that some bodies floating in from Uttar Pradesh were found tangled in the net on Wednesday and the state’s administration has been informed about it.

While Buxar authorities have said that some bodies may have floated in from Uttar Pradesh, officials in the neighbouring state have denied the claim.

India recorded 362,727 new Covid-19 infections and 4,120 deaths in the 24 hours ending on Thursday morning, taking the death toll to 258,317.

The discovery of the bodies had sparked fears of spread of the infection but experts now say coronavirus transmission cannot happen through water.

Reports have quoted locals as saying that bodies end up in the river because relatives can’t afford the wood to cremate them, or because crematoriums have run out of space as a second wave of Covid-19 ravages India.

There is also the fear of stigma, so people are quietly disposing of the bodies in the river, The Indian Express says.

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