A week after the first report appeared in the media in this regard the Union home ministry confirmed that nearly 2,000 bodies have so far been retrieved from the river Ganga by various district administrations in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar since then.
The first report was carried by a section of media which said that dozens of bodies were found floating in river Yamuna in Hamirpur district of Uttar Pradesh. River Yamuna submerges its identity in Ganga in Prayag Raj, earlier known as Allahabad. The Sangam or confluence is considered a holy place and lakhs of Hindus take dip at this point on various auspicious occasions.
Two days later on May 10 came the news from Chausa in Buxar district of Bihar bordering Uttar Pradesh which said that about 150 bodies were found floating in Ganga. While the sadar SDO of Buxar, K K Upadhyaya, claimed that all these bloated bodies were from the neighbouring districts of UP, the authorities in Uttar Pradesh rejected his assertion.
The following day the Buxar administration fished out 71 bodies and buried them in a mass grave near the river.
Then reports started pouring from Saran district of Bihar and neighbouring Ballia and Ghazipur districts of UP that people are throwing the bodies of their near and dear ones in river Ganga. This was followed by news that scores of bodies were buried on the bank of river Ganga in Unnao district of central UP.
According to officials, these bodies are of corona patients who died in villages along the bank of Ganga. Since most of the villagers are either poor or are unable to get wood to cremate them they are finding it better to throw the bodies in the rivers.
Now the media reports said that the Union home ministry is in close touch with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar governments to ensure that dumping of bodies in the Ganga is stopped immediately as this could lead to further spread of COVID-19 and other diseases and may also cause contamination of water.
Reports also said that the dumping of bodies was being noticed largely in Kanpur, Ghazipur, Unnao and Balia districts of UP from where bodies are also flowing further downstream to Bihar.
Authorities in the Yogi Adityanath government are tight-lipped after the Union home ministry revelation that 2,000 bodies have so far been retrieved from Ganga. Till now they were claiming that these bodies are of Bihar.