Unnao (UP): Reports have emerged of multiple bodies having been buried in sand at two locations along the Ganga river in Unnao district.
The shocking report comes a few days after dead bodies, probably following Covid deaths, were found floating on the Ganga river in eastern UP and Bihar and triggering public indignation.
Video pictures shot on mobiles from the locations showed the buried bodies with locals looking on and most of the bodies were wrapped in a saffron cloth.
A top government official quoted by NDTV said that at least one of the two locations was a known cremation spot for three districts including Unnao.
Unnao District Magistrate Ravindra Kumar said in a statement to the media, "Some people do not burn the bodies but bury them in the sand by the river. After I got information, I have sent officials to the spot. I have asked them to carry out an enquiry and we will take action." In answer to a query he said that there was no confirmation that these bodies were of Covid patients.
The bodies were mainly found buried at the Rautapur Ganga Ghat in Hajipur area.
Meanwhile, there is panic among the locals after the discovery of bodies buried in sand on the banks of the river Ganga. Hindus revere the Ganga as the holiest of rivers but consigning bodies to it is not part of any religion's traditions, including Hinduism.
Shirish Gupta, a local businessman, was quoted by IANS as saying: "Monsoon is barely a month away and once the Ganga river becomes flooded with water, these bodies will be washed ashore. The district administration should exhume the bodies and perform a proper cremation."
Officials were tight -lipped on the suggestion. "It could create a law-and-order problem if we take out the bodies. We will see what best can be done," said a senior district official.
Sources said that ever since the death toll in the ongoing pandemic began rising, the prices of performing cremation have also shot up. Locals believe that the shortage of firewood, and the overall high cost of cremation would have led to people resorting to such disposal of dead bodies.
"A package for cremation according to Hindu rites, is now between Rs 15,000 to 20,000. It is obvious that poor people cannot afford it and they are opting for riverside burials," said Gupta.
In the previous case reported, scores of dead bodies had been washed up on the banks of Ganga in Ghazipur and Ballia districts on Monday. Bodies were also found in Buxar in Bihar.
The public is also reportedly aggrieved that no proper arrangements are being provided for the last rites of the dead, and the stench of corpses still haunts them with health concerns too.