Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has demanded a judicial demand headed by a high court judge into decomposed and bloated bodies floating in the Ganga River in Uttar Pradesh. The Congress leader described it as inhumane and criminal.
“What is happening in UP is inhumane and criminal. The government is busy image building while people are suffering unimaginably. There must be an immediate judicial enquiry headed by a High Court judge into these events,” she wrote on Twitter. “Bodies are floating in the Ganga in Ballia and Ghazipur. Reports are coming in of mass burials on the banks of the river in Unnao. Official numbers from cities like Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Jhansi and Kanpur appear to be grossly under-reported.”
According to The Indian Express, at least 96 unidentified bodies have been found floating in the Ganga over the past couple of days. And this has triggered fears among local residents in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh that the bodies were being dumped into the river. Police in Buxar suspect that the bodies may have floated in from Ghazipur, in UP. Buxar SP Neeraj Kumar told The Indian Express that they fished out 71 bodies from the Ganga. “We conducted postmortem of all bodies and have also taken DNA and COVID samples.” He said the bodies were decomposed as per government COVID protocols.
Buxar District Magistrate Aman Sameer said the local administration has been keeping a close watch on Ganga ghats to ensure that bodies are not allowed to be dumped in the river. The Uttar Pradesh government has passed an order directing people to stop Jal Samadhi – a ritual followed by some communities in which bodies are disposed by putting them in the river.
The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), taking cognizance of reports, on Tuesday asked all District Ganga Committees to take necessary action to address the issue and submit an action taken report within 14 days.
Meanwhile, officials have emphatically brushed off reports that the bodies were thrown into the river by the local people because of exorbitant prices charged for firewood to cremate them. “There is enough firewood at the cremation grounds and six to eight bodies have been burnt each day on average,” a statement said. “We have told all officials to be alert about such incidents in future and have also asked them to make locals aware about not throwing bodies into the river.”