Police are reaching out to villagers in northern India to investigate the recovery of bodies buried in shallow sand graves or washing up on the Ganges River banks, prompting speculation on social media that they were the remains of Covid-19 victims.
In jeeps and boats, the police used portable loudspeakers with microphones asking people not to dispose of the bodies in rivers. “We are here to help you perform the last rites,” police said.
The Indian government says 250,000 have died of COVID-19. The real number could be 750,000 or even more, reports Slate.
Bloated bodies of dozens have also been found floating in the river near Bihar.
“India is experiencing a devastating COVID surge with over 3.7 million active cases and less than 3 percent of the 1.4 billion population fully vaccinated as of Monday. Both cities and rural areas have been hit and the already-weak health care infrastructure is crumbling. Crematoriums are full and in some cases, dead bodies are being dumped in the river Ganges. Meanwhile, the Indian government is busy spinning counternarratives and penalizing taking pictures at crematoriums,” Slate wrote.
In an unrelated report, a severe cyclone has hit India’s west coast as authorities grapple with the deadly second Covid-19 wave.