LUCKNOW: After dead bodies were seen floating in river Ganga in East Uttar Pradesh districts, shallow graves have been reported on the banks of the sacred river in the central parts of the state since the last few days. Meanwhile, the Yogi Adityanath government maintains that the COVID-19 cases and positivity rate in the state is declining fast.
Just a few days after dozens of dead bodies found floating on the banks of river Ganga in eastern districts of Ghazipur, Ballia and Chandauli, at least seven bodies (five males and two females) were found floating near Sujabad village in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency Varanasi on Thursday.
Confirming the development, Ved Prakash Rai, the station officer of Ramnagar police station of Varanasi district, said “there were a total seven bodies, many of which were partially decomposed, that were found floating near Sujabad village. All the bodies were retrieved from the river and buried safely by following all safety protocols by the local administration.”
The Sujabad village neighbours Domri village, which has been adopted by PM Modi in 2018 under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana.
Meanwhile, as per informed sources in Ghazipur, Ballia and Chandauli districts of East UP, several dozen bodies (numbering possibly between 70-100) have been found floating in river Ganga on UP-Bihar border in the last few days.
According to Banwari Lal, a guard deployed near the new bridge coming over the Ganga river between Ballia and Buxar claimed that around 70 bodies have been found floating near the under construction bridge at Bharauli Ghat and adjoining villages in Ballia district (Bihar’s Buxar district located on the opposite banks).”The local administration got them buried with the help of JCB machines,” he said.
The Ballia district magistrate Aditi Singh, while confirming that many bodies were found floating in the river said, “village pradhans of nearby villages were called to identify the bodies, but as the bodies were badly decomposed, they failed to identify them. Subsequently, the last rites of the bodies were performed by following all safety protocols and the local SDM is looking into the entire matter.”
Around 450 km away in Central UP’s Unnao district, dozens of shallow graves have been found in the last few days. Videos of the stray dogs invading and digging the shallow graves too have gone viral.
According to Unnao district collector Ravindra Kumar, the graves found in Buxar Ghat (Bighapur) is located in Unnao district, but is very close to Rae Bareli and Fatehpur district also. “Traditionally Buxar Ghat has had a long tradition of people from all three districts not cremating, but burying the human corpses on the riverbank. We’re ensuring that all the bodies being buried are buried deeply and also ensuring that bodies which have been buried in shallow graves be covered properly, to prevent stray animals from invading the graves.”
Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the Union Jal Shakti Ministry, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, after receiving complaints about several bodies found floating in the Ganga river in UP and Bihar. "It (NHRC) has issued notices to the chief secretaries of both the states and the secretary, Union Ministry of Jal Shakti, today calling for an action taken report within four weeks," NHRC statement mentioned.
Tweeting about the bodies in river Ganga and graves on the riverbanks, Congress national general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said, “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.” The Congress leader demanded judicial enquiry headed by a High Court Judge into these events.