10 May 2021: 40+ decomposed bodies of suspected COVID-19 victims found in Ganga
Several dozens of decomposing dead bodies were seen floating in the Ganga river in Bihar's Buxar district this morning, highlighting the unending trauma of India's catastrophic COVID-19 crisis.
Purported videos of the bodies, suspected to be of coronavirus patients, have gone viral on social media, sparking shock and fear.
Several bodies eventually piled up at the river banks at the Chausa town.
Details: Some locals claim there could be close to 100 bodies
According to a report by NDTV, Chausa district official Ashok Kumar said 40-45 bodies were seen floating in the waters of Ganga near the Mahadeva Ghat. He added the bodies were apparently thrown into the river.
However, some locals claim there could be close to 100 bodies.
In fact, as per a Times Now report, the number of dead bodies was more than 150.
Details: Bodies had been floating for 5-7 days: Official
Buxar Sub Divisional Officer, KK Upadhyay said the bodies were bloated and had apparently been floating in the river for the last five to seven days.
"We don't have a tradition of immersing bodies in rivers. We are making arrangements to cremate these corpses," he said, according to ANI.
An investigation will be conducted to find out more information, Upadhyay stated.
Blame: Local administration says the bodies floated down from UP
The incident has ignited a blame-game between the neighboring states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Reportedly, the local administration in Buxar believes the dead bodies floated down from UP and were discarded possibly after the relatives failed to find space to cremate or bury them.
Notably, cremation and burial grounds in several states are overburdened as India battles a brutal second wave of COVID-19.
Fears: 'People are terrified,' says local as incident triggers anxiety
Following the incident, there is widespread panic among the residents of the town who fear contracting the fatal infection.
"People are terrified of getting COVID. We have to bury the bodies (sic)," Narendra Kumar, a villager, said, according to NDTV.
"A district administration official came and said they would pay Rs. 500 for cleaning up the bodies," Kumar told reporters.
Crisis: India's COVID-19 crisis
India is currently facing the world's worst coronavirus outbreak, reporting lakhs of new infections every day for the past few weeks.
In the past 24 hours, the country registered 3.66 lakh new cases and 3,754 fatalities.
Hospitals as well as cremation/burial grounds remain overwhelmed in several states across India due to the unprecedented spike in infections and deaths.