Western media bias? All bodies in Indian river banks were not of Covid patients. Here's why

Edited By: Nikhil Pandey
NEW DELHI Updated: May 20, 2022, 05:08 PM(IST)

A visual from ghat in Prayagraj. Photograph:( ANI )

Story highlights

People continue to come to Ganga for the "salvation" of their loved ones, and the bodies are being buried. Some say it's a tradition, while others say it's due to "budget restrictions." Despite the restriction, the dead are still being buried because locals believe the Ganga would take them when it stretches its course. 

In April last year, when India was battling the deadly second wave of Covid-19, photos of bodies strewn across the river bed of Ganga in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh became the symbol of the country's "underreporting" of coronavirus casualties.

Several media reports, including foreign news outlets, all alleged that the bodies were "dumped" as the cremetoria and graveyards were overwhelmed with corpses, and hence the kin decided to "abandon" them on the sand of river banks.

However, the reappearance of bodies this year in the Ganga river--considered sacred among the Hindu community--has contradicted the claim of the unaccounted deaths. This comes amid India recording under 3000 daily cases over the past few weeks.

Also read | India calls WHO data collection methodology 'unsound and scientifically questionable'

People continue to come to Ganga for the "salvation" of their loved ones, and the bodies are being buried. Some say it's a tradition, while others say it's due to "budget restrictions." 

Despite the restriction, the dead are still being buried because locals believe the Ganga would take them when it stretches its course. 

The open burial of bodies near the Ganga's banks was apparently not investigated by the international media, who instead opted to relate it to the covid deaths. 

It's worth noting that the international press has opted not to cover the open burial of dead near the river's edge this year.

India has witnessed a sharp decline in COVID-19 cases this year with high vaccination coverage being a major contributing factor to the country`s success in battling the pandemic.The banks of Ganga has bodies of people from several districts of Uttar Pradesh. 

Watch | India: Mask mandate back in New Delhi as COVID cases surge

"In Hinduism, the funeral is done by burning the pyre in which a lot of wood is used. Here, the body gets absorbed in the Ganga. There is nothing wrong with all this," said Teerthraj Patel, a local resident, who was at the ghat attending a funeral of his relative."The ghat is used by people from various districts. They are aware of the contraction of the river Ganga during the summer season. They know that when the river will expand in the rainy season, the bodies will be submerged in the river and their loved ones will get salvation. This is why there is temporary burial in sand," he added.

Also read | Covovax vaccine available for everyone above 12 years: Adar Poonawalla

Another local resident present on the ghat said that the bodies will ultimately go into the Ganga river."In summers, the width of the Ganga gets reduced. When the water level will rise, the bodies will get absorbed in the Ganga`s flow and as per beliefs this helps to attain moksha. Burying the bodies in sand is simple and economical. Therefore, people from several districts come here to bury the bodies keeping aside the traditional rituals," he said.

The limits enforced on burying dead remains on the ghats appear to have had no effect, as people continue to go to the ghats. Meanwhile, Prayagraj Municipal Commissioner Ravi Ranjan announced that an electric crematorium will be constructed at the ghat in the near future.

(With inputs from agencies)

WATCH WION LIVE HERE

You can now write for wionews.com and be a part of the community. Share your stories and opinions with us here.

Read in App