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Health India

Uttar Pradesh: Bodies in the river, more buried in the sands, tell tales of Govt apathy

More shallow graves continue to reveal themselves along the Ganga, after rains reveal more rushed burials

Sabrangindia 17 May 2021

Image Courtesy:finance.yahoo.com

This is a tragic story of the stripping away of human dignity even after death. A spell of summer rain, washed away some sand along the river, revealing even more bodies that were buried there. Are these ‘mass graves’ said to be nearly 900, and with those retrieved from the river itself the number is stated to be close to 2,000 at last count, of Covid-19 victims? No official word has come on that yet, however. But one thing is clear, these people, who probably died for want of timely medical intervention, were denied basic human dignity even in death. 

According to a report in The Asian Age, the Union Home Ministry has revealed that around 2,000 bodies “have been retrieved from the Ganga by various district administrations in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in the last one week or so”. According to officials who seem to have spoken to the media off the record, “These bodies are most likely of Corona patients who died in remote villages along the Ganga”. Video news reports over the past few days have shown that apart from bloated corpses floating in the river, then washing shore, there are hundreds of mass graves, dug shallow, along a large stretch of river bank in Uttar Pradesh. Some of the bodies have floated into Bihar as the two states lie along the same Ganga river bank. Locals are heard in various reports telling the media that most of these burials and dumping in the river seem to have been done at night, perhaps by families who are too poor to even afford the wood needed for a proper cremation, and other funeral rites.

It has been reported that the Union home ministry “is in close touch” with governments of both Uttar Pradesh and Bihar “to ensure that dumping of bodies in the Ganga is checked immediately as this could lead to further spread of the Corona pandemic in the two states.” 

As the news of dead bodies being found in such a way went viral, UP’s Chief Minister Adityanath ordered patrolling of the river and river bank by the PAC and SDRF, reported Times Now. According to the report, the CM “has also suggested that the villages should form committees including village development officers and village heads to monitor and ensure that no one dumps bodies in rivers”. Other video reports showed policemen riding in a boat on the river alerting people not to dump bodies in the river, and to approach the authorities if they cannot afford a funeral. 

However, as the case has been so far, people are scared of the police in Uttar Pradesh, as seen in visuals and social media altercations on people who were taking oxygen cylinders for family members suffering from Covid-19. In the rural areas the ‘fear’ of the ‘uniform’ is anyone's guess.

The Asian Age quoted Ministry sources saying this mass dumping of bodies was “noticed largely in four districts of Kanpur, Ghazipur, Unnao and Balia” and from here bodies were also going downstream into Bihar. While both states “have been asked to take immediate corrective steps” according to the news report, there is not much clarity on what those steps are.

According to other media reports around 71 more bodies had washed ashore on the Ganga river banks at Chausa village, more were found buried shallow, or just abandoned along the other banks of the Ganga. The Dainik Bhaskar, reported that more than 900 dead bodies had been buried along the river in Unnao alone , around 350 in Kannauj, 400 in Kanpur, and 280 in Ghazipur. 

The National Human Rights Commission had recently issued notices to the Central, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar governments about bodies found floating in the Ganga. According to media reports the NHRC issued notices to the chief secretaries of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and the secretary of the Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation of the Jal Shakti Ministry. They have been asked to file a report to the NHRC within four weeks. 

The NHRC observed that the public authorities failed to make concerted efforts in educating people and preventing the immersion of bodies into the Ganga. The NHRC added, “The practice of disposal of dead bodies in our sacred river Ganga is clearly in violation of guidelines of the National Mission for Clean Ganga project of Ministry of Jal Shakti.” The commission was responding to a complaint that “expressed apprehensions that these bodies were of Covid-19 victims,” stated reports, adding that even if “the bodies were not of those affected by Covid-19, the incidents were shameful to society and amounted to a violation of the rights of the deceased.”

Related:

Uttar Pradesh: 14 doctors from rural hospitals quit citing harassment
Around 140 bodies found in river Ganga, officials yet to confirm them as Covid deaths
EC, courts and Government failed to see risk of polls during Covid-19: Allahabad HC
UP: Covid-19 norms flouted as hundreds turn up for Islamic leader’s funeral
Rs. 1 cr compensation should be given to families of polling officials who died of 

Uttar Pradesh: Bodies in the river, more buried in the sands, tell tales of Govt apathy

More shallow graves continue to reveal themselves along the Ganga, after rains reveal more rushed burials

Image Courtesy:finance.yahoo.com

This is a tragic story of the stripping away of human dignity even after death. A spell of summer rain, washed away some sand along the river, revealing even more bodies that were buried there. Are these ‘mass graves’ said to be nearly 900, and with those retrieved from the river itself the number is stated to be close to 2,000 at last count, of Covid-19 victims? No official word has come on that yet, however. But one thing is clear, these people, who probably died for want of timely medical intervention, were denied basic human dignity even in death. 

According to a report in The Asian Age, the Union Home Ministry has revealed that around 2,000 bodies “have been retrieved from the Ganga by various district administrations in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in the last one week or so”. According to officials who seem to have spoken to the media off the record, “These bodies are most likely of Corona patients who died in remote villages along the Ganga”. Video news reports over the past few days have shown that apart from bloated corpses floating in the river, then washing shore, there are hundreds of mass graves, dug shallow, along a large stretch of river bank in Uttar Pradesh. Some of the bodies have floated into Bihar as the two states lie along the same Ganga river bank. Locals are heard in various reports telling the media that most of these burials and dumping in the river seem to have been done at night, perhaps by families who are too poor to even afford the wood needed for a proper cremation, and other funeral rites.

It has been reported that the Union home ministry “is in close touch” with governments of both Uttar Pradesh and Bihar “to ensure that dumping of bodies in the Ganga is checked immediately as this could lead to further spread of the Corona pandemic in the two states.” 

As the news of dead bodies being found in such a way went viral, UP’s Chief Minister Adityanath ordered patrolling of the river and river bank by the PAC and SDRF, reported Times Now. According to the report, the CM “has also suggested that the villages should form committees including village development officers and village heads to monitor and ensure that no one dumps bodies in rivers”. Other video reports showed policemen riding in a boat on the river alerting people not to dump bodies in the river, and to approach the authorities if they cannot afford a funeral. 

However, as the case has been so far, people are scared of the police in Uttar Pradesh, as seen in visuals and social media altercations on people who were taking oxygen cylinders for family members suffering from Covid-19. In the rural areas the ‘fear’ of the ‘uniform’ is anyone's guess.

The Asian Age quoted Ministry sources saying this mass dumping of bodies was “noticed largely in four districts of Kanpur, Ghazipur, Unnao and Balia” and from here bodies were also going downstream into Bihar. While both states “have been asked to take immediate corrective steps” according to the news report, there is not much clarity on what those steps are.

According to other media reports around 71 more bodies had washed ashore on the Ganga river banks at Chausa village, more were found buried shallow, or just abandoned along the other banks of the Ganga. The Dainik Bhaskar, reported that more than 900 dead bodies had been buried along the river in Unnao alone , around 350 in Kannauj, 400 in Kanpur, and 280 in Ghazipur. 

The National Human Rights Commission had recently issued notices to the Central, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar governments about bodies found floating in the Ganga. According to media reports the NHRC issued notices to the chief secretaries of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and the secretary of the Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation of the Jal Shakti Ministry. They have been asked to file a report to the NHRC within four weeks. 

The NHRC observed that the public authorities failed to make concerted efforts in educating people and preventing the immersion of bodies into the Ganga. The NHRC added, “The practice of disposal of dead bodies in our sacred river Ganga is clearly in violation of guidelines of the National Mission for Clean Ganga project of Ministry of Jal Shakti.” The commission was responding to a complaint that “expressed apprehensions that these bodies were of Covid-19 victims,” stated reports, adding that even if “the bodies were not of those affected by Covid-19, the incidents were shameful to society and amounted to a violation of the rights of the deceased.”

Related:

Uttar Pradesh: 14 doctors from rural hospitals quit citing harassment
Around 140 bodies found in river Ganga, officials yet to confirm them as Covid deaths
EC, courts and Government failed to see risk of polls during Covid-19: Allahabad HC
UP: Covid-19 norms flouted as hundreds turn up for Islamic leader’s funeral
Rs. 1 cr compensation should be given to families of polling officials who died of 

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03

Jan

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Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

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Campaigns

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

IN FACT

Analysis

Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.
Delhi HC

Hate Speech and Delhi Pogrom 2020

A spate of provocative speeches, that amount to hate speech in law and should be prosecuted allowed blood letting to spill on the streets of north east Delhi in February-March 2020

Archives