After Ghazipur, the administration in Ballia district in eastern Uttar Pradesh has said some bodies in a mangled state were found on the banks of the Ganga.
The administration, however, was silent on the number of bodies retrieved and said the final rites of the bodies were conducted on the banks of the Ganga in the presence of police and administrative officials.
Some unidentified bodies were spotted on the banks of the Ganga under the Ballia-Buxar bridge in the Narhi area on the evening of May 10, District Magistrate (DM) Aditi Singh said.
The “mangled” bodies looked to be “some days old”, the DM said in a statement, adding that the source of the bodies was being probed.
Despite several attempts, police officers and administrative officials did not reveal how many bodies had been found in Ballia.
Narad Rai, former Cabinet minister and senior Samajwadi Party leader hailing from the district, demanded that the administration release the true count of the bodies retrieved.
“Hiding the true figure won’t get them anything. It will, however, make local people more vigilant if a large number of bodies are found floating,” Mr. Rai told The Hindu .
He demanded that the administration make arrangements for cremation in villages to prevent disposal of bodies through jal pravah (immersing of bodies).
Around two dozen bodies in a decomposed state were found floating in the Ganga river in neighbouring Ghazipur, police said on Tuesday. Given the large number of bodies, police are probing if they are linked to suspected COVID-19 victims but have so far not been able to identify the dead or trace the source.
DM Ghazipur on Wednesday refuted reports that there was a shortage of wood for cremation in the region, a possible cause for jal pravah .
“There is adequate availability of wood at all the funeral sites in Ghazipur. Continuous patrolling is being done on both sides of the Ganges by a joint team of magistrates and police. This is being vigilantly and closely monitored by the teams,” the DM said on Twitter.
Bodies found buried in Unnao
Meanwhile, in Unnao district, an unknown number of bodies were found buried in sand at two locations by the Ganga. Most of the bodies were wrapped in saffron cloth. District Magistrate Ravindra Kumar said there was no confirmation yet if the bodies were of COVID-19 victims.
One of the two locations, Buxar ghat, shared a border with Rae Bareli and Fatehpur districts and was a cremation site, he said. "But some people bury the bodies in the sand on the banks of the Ganga," the DM said. Necessary action will be taken after a probe, added the DM.