71 corpses pulled out from Ganges in Bihar so far; all floated downstream from UP, says govt
Some news channels claimed these were of COVID-19 patients from Bihar who might have been dumped by callous officials, state government strongly denied the same, asserting that none of the deceased was a local resident.
The Bihar government on Tuesday said altogether 71 bodies have been fished out from the Ganges in Buxar district, where these were found floating in the river, triggering suspicion that the abandoned corpses could be those of COVID-19 patients.
State Water Resources Minister Sanjay Kumar, a key aide of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, came out with a series of tweets, asserting that the bodies had flown downstream from neighbouring Uttar Pradesh.
"The Bihar government is seized of the matter of unfortunate case of floating mortal remains in river Ganga... The bodies have floated into Bihar from UP," said Jha, adding, doctors have confirmed upon post-mortem that the deaths had taken place "four-five days" ago.
He said the chief minister was pained at both the tragedy as well as the "harm" to river Ganga. "He has always been particular about the purity and uninterrupted flow of the river and has asked the administration to intensify patrolling to ensure this is not repeated.
"Last rites of 71 bodies performed as per protocols. A net has been placed in the Ganges in Ranighat, bordering UP and Bihar. We have advised the UP administration to be vigilant. Our administration is keeping vigil, too. Advise all to give respect to the dead and also to Maa Ganga," Jha added.
A large number of bloated corpses were seen floating in the river bed in Chausa block of Buxar district on Monday, triggering shock waves. Though some news channels claimed these were of COVID-19 patients who might have been abandoned by resource-starved family members or dumped by callous officials, the local administration had strongly denied the same, asserting that none of the deceased was a local resident, and the bodies had flown downstream from adjoining UP districts.
Meanwhile, state capital Mumbai reported 866 fresh cases on Saturday pushing the cumulative total to 710,807. Currently, there are as many as 16,135 active cases in the city
Coronavirus News Updates: Maharashtra reports 14,123 new cases, lowest since 10 March; caseload now at 57.6 lakh
Coronavirus News Updates: The state also reported 477 deaths, including previously unreported fatalities. Out of the 477 deaths, 340 occurred in the last 48 hours and 137 in the last week. The state's toll now stands at 96,198
VK Paul, head of the national COVID-19 task force, also called on states and UTs to conduct serosurveys, saying that the country can't depend on one national serosurvey alone