The Vaishali district administration on Friday dismissed reports that a half-burnt corpse, being pecked at by crows and stray dogs in Hajipur, was of a COVID-19 patient.
Visuals showing crows and stray dogs pecking at the corpse had gone viral on social media and local news channels reported the body was of a 35-year-old man found dead at a quarantine centre.
"These are misleading and mischievous claims," District Magistrate Udita Singh said.
"The half-burnt body is definitely not of the COVID-19 man though we are not able to identify the corpse. Nonetheless, officials were sent to the spot on learning about the rumours and the half-burnt body was cremated fully," she told a press conference.
The man found hanging from the ceiling had been lodged at Ambedkar Hostel quarantine centre upon his return from Delhi.
Police said he had been suffering panic attacks after his sample was sent for testing. They claimed the man's condition did not improve even after meeting his family and he took the extreme step in a fit of anxiety. His test report on Thursday confirmed that he was infected with the coronavirus.
In media reports, the local Konhara Ghat residents alleged the cremation on Wednesday night was done in a perfunctory manner since administration and police officials were wary of catching the virus.
But the district magistrate said the residents had tried to protest when the officials took the body for cremation, fearing they might catch the contagion.
"The officials on duty, however, went ahead despite the protest," Ms Singh said.
None of the family members of the deceased had arrived at the time of cremation, apparently fearing the infection, and the officials saw to it that the body was cremated properly, she added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)