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No bodies floating in Ganga at Rae Bareli, says administration

There were no bodies, reportedly of suspected COVID-19 victims, floating in the Ganga in Rae Bareli district in Uttar Pradesh, the administration said on Friday. But locals alleged bodies were being improperly buried in the sand on the river’s ghats.

After a spot visit by Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Lalganj and the local police, Ram Abhilash, Additional District Magistrate (administration), said the reports of bodies floating in the Ganga at Gegaso ghat were “misleading and false”.

However, locals claimed that bodies were being hurriedly and improperly buried in shallow pits in the sands of the ghats since at least a month. Nakul Dubey, a local villager, said people came and dumped bodies in the sand or cremated them in the night.

“They come and bury it (the body) at a shallow depth. Dogs pull and tear the body parts and run with them towards the villages,” he told a local journalist.

Visuals of the site were widely shared on social media. While it could not be ascertained independently, the videos show mounds in the sands while different coloured cloth were strewn on the ghat.

Circle Officer Anjani Kumar Chaturvedi, who probed the matter, however, told The Hindu that not a single body had been displaced above the surface and all that was seen in the footage were pieces of cloth that had been buried along with bodies at the ghat, which also serves as a cremation site.

Due to strong winds, the sand had been displaced, making the pieces of cloth visible on the surface, he said.

“You won’t find even a single body outside the sand. If there was a possibility, people would have shown the legs of the bodies popping out, wouldn’t they?” he asked.

Mr. Chaturvedi said that, as per customs, some Hindus did not cremate their dead but buried the bodies, in particular of those who died unmarried.

The clothes seen on the ghats belonged to bodies had been buried over time, he claimed.

However, the officer acknowledged that due to COVID-19, the number of bodies being buried in the sand may have gone up.

Some locals told the vernacular media that people who were unable to cremate their dead due to financial reasons in the lockdown were leaving their bodies in the sand. “Those buried here are all poor people,” a local whose name was not known said.

“This is a failure of the administration because these are bodies buried just 2.5 feet deep,” said Sevak, a local villager.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 4:39:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/no-bodies-floating-in-ganga-at-rae-bareli-says-administration/article34561669.ece

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