A day after scores of decomposed and half-burnt corpses floating down the Ganga washed ashore at Chausa village in Buxar, officials of Bihar and neighbouring UP engaged in a blame game over which state was responsible for dumping bodies in the river.
The Bihar government said 71 bodies had been retrieved and cremated after autopsies that failed to confirm if the deaths were caused by Covid-19. Union jal shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat termed the dumping of bodies in the Ganga “unfortunate” and a matter that must be investigated.
Tagging Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and his Uttar Pradesh counterpart Yogi Adityanath in a tweet on Tuesday, he said, “The Modi government is committed to the cleanliness of ‘mother’ Ganga. This incident is unexpected. The states concerned should take immediate cognisance.”
In a series of tweets, Bihar water resources minister Sanjay Kumar Jha said the bodies retrieved at Chausa’s Mahadev Ghat on Monday were four to five days old, based on postmortem reports.

“The last rites of 71 bodies were performed as per Covid protocol. A net has been placed in the river at Ranighat, bordering UP and Bihar. We’ve advised the UP administration to be vigilant; our district admin is keeping vigil too.” Jha wrote that CM Nitish was “pained” by the tragedy as well as the harm caused to the “purity” of the Ganga.

In Buxar, DM Aman Samir maintained that the bodies had been dumped in neighbouring Ghazipur district of UP, a charge vehemently denied by the district administration there.
“As the bodies were found there (Buxar), they would know better about their origin,” Ghazipur DM Mangla Prasad Singh said. A search revealed more bodies in UP’s Ballia. There was no official statement till Tuesday evening on the number of bodies found.


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