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New Delhi – Reuters
The government of Uttar Pradesh, northern India, said that the bodies of victims of the “Covid-19” epidemic were found dumped in some Indian rivers, in the first official recognition of a disturbing process, which it said may be caused by poverty and fear of disease in the villages.
The pictures of the bodies swept away by the stream in the Ganges River, sacred to Hindus, shocked a people suffering under the burden of the worst increase in the number of Corona virus infections in the world.
Although the media has linked the recent increase in the numbers of these bodies to the pandemic, the state of Uttar Pradesh, which has a population of 240 million, has yet to publicly disclose the cause of the deaths.
“The administration has information that the bodies of those who died as a result of” Covid-19 “or any other disease are dumped into rivers instead of disposing of them according to appropriate rituals,” senior state official Manoj Kumar Singh said in a letter on May 14 to district chiefs. He added, “As a result, bodies were recovered from rivers in many areas.”
On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged officials to boost health care resources in the countryside and step up follow-up as the virus spreads rapidly in those areas after it invades cities.
Among the possible reasons for disposing of corpses in rivers, Singh said, is the lack of funds to buy materials such as firewood to burn bodies and religious beliefs in some communities and families get rid of victims for fear of disease. He asked village officials to ensure that bodies were not dumped in the rivers, and said that the state government would pay five thousand rupees ($ 68) to poor families to burn or bury the bodies of the dead. The state also required police to patrol rivers to stop this process.
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