Just days after dead bodies of suspected Covid patients were spotted floating on the Ganga river in Bihar and eastern UP, fresh reports have now emerged of multiple bodies found buried in sand at two locations by the same river in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao district, just 40 km from state capital Lucknow.
Mobile phone visuals from both locations showed many buried bodies with locals looking on, most of the bodies were wrapped in a saffron cloth.
A top government official in Unnao told the media that at least one of the locations is a major cremation spot for three districts, including Unnao, and that there was no confirmation these bodies were of Covid patients.
"Some people do not burn the bodies but bury them in the sand by the river. After I got information, I sent officials to the spot. I have asked them to carry out an enquiry and we will take action," district magistrate Ravindra Kumar told the media in a statement.
When asked if these bodies were of Covid patients in the vicinity, the official said information so far does not indicate this.
This morning, a team of officials reached the location and dug much deeper pits and buried the bodies again at the same spot.
Dead bodies washed up on the banks of Ganga were sighted in eastern UP's Ghazipur on Tuesday. "We have got the information. Our officers are present on the spot and an investigation is underway. We are trying to find out where they came from," MP Singh, the Ghazipur District Magistrate, was quoted by news agency ANI.
Hindus revere the Ganga as the holiest of rivers but consigning bodies to it is not part of any religion's traditions, including Hinduism.
Locals believe the shortage of wood for funeral pyres might be one reason why corpses are being abandoned in this manner.
They have also said no arrangements are being made for the last rites by officials, and that the stench continues to haunt them, triggering health concerns.
Many believe the abandoned bodies can be linked to deaths that have not made it to official Covid figures in what may be a proof of an escalating Covid crisis.