Dozens of suspected Covid victims wash up on Ganges River banks.

River Ganga Bank Buxar beatiful scene

River Ganga Bank Buxar beatiful scene

Dozens of bodies believed to be Covid-19 victims have washed up on the banks of the Ganges River in northern India as the pandemic spreads into India's vast rural hinterland, Buxar borders India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, where a lockdown was extended over the weekend until May 17 Some locals told media the dead bodies, with some reports putting the figure as high as 100, were bloated and burned. Local official Ashok Kumar said that about 40 corpses washed up in Buxar district near the border between Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, two of India's poorest states.

"It is clear that the bodies are not from Buxar district. But they may have floated down the river from other cities situated along the river; we have directed concerned officials to dispose of all bodies, to either bury or cremate them," Kumar told AFP. Some media reports said the number of corpses could be as high as 100. The reports quoted other officials as saying some of the bodies were bloated and partially burned and could have been in the river for several days.

Locals told AFP they believed the bodies had been dumped in the river because cremation sites were overwhelmed or because relatives could not afford wood for funeral pyres. "It is really shocking for us," local resident Kameshwar Pandey told AFP. In a press conference, district official Aman Sarin told local reporters an investigation is underway to identify and determine the cause of death for the bodies collected on the banks of Chausa. Video circulating on social media and published on Indian news outlets purports to show the bodies floating in the water close to the river bank.

The Ganges river flows through the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and finally into West Bengal, where it empties into the Bay of Bengal. Some residents told BBC Hindi wood shortages and spiraling funeral costs meant families were pushing dead loved ones straight into the river." Private hospitals are looting people," local resident Chandra Mohan said." Common people are not left with money to pay a priest and spend more on cremation at the river bank. They are asking 2,000 rupees ($34) to get the corpse out of the ambulance." The river has become their last recourse, so people are immersing corpses in the river."

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