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A visual from ghat in Prayagraj (Photo:ANI)
A visual from ghat in Prayagraj (Photo:ANI)

Reappearance of bodies in Ganga contradicts last year's unaccounted Covid death claims

ANI | Updated: May 19, 2022 19:25 IST

Prayagraj (Uttar Pradesh) [India], May 19 (ANI): The Phaphamau Ghat in the northern part of Prayagraj has become a graveyard of sorts and with yellow and saffron-coloured clothes on temporarily-erected poles indicating that bodies have been buried. This is not part of the traditional Hindu religious practice but people are resorting to it as they find it "convenient" while some even call it a custom.
Last year during a severe phase of Delta variant of COVID-19, this place had got a bad name amid reports of bodies floating in Ganga. It was shown in sections of media, specially foreign media, that people who had died of COVID-19 had been buried or their bodies had been "dumped" in Ganga. Several restrictions were also imposed. But today when the COVID-19 situation is under control the practice of burying bodies continues showing the falsity of these reports.
People continue to come to Ganga for "salvation" of their near and dear ones and are burying the bodies. Some are calling it a custom and others are citing "financial constraints". But despite a ban, the burial continues for the bodies as people say Ganga will take these bodies when it expands its course.
International media did not apparently investigate the reason behind the open burial of bodies near the banks of Ganga and chose to link it with the COVID deaths. It is pertinent to note that this year the international media has chosen not to report the open burial of bodies near the banks of the river. 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.
"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.
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 restrictions imposed concerning burying of the dead bodies on the ghat has seemingly made little impact and the people continue to throng the ghats.
Meanwhile, Prayagraj Municipal Commissioner Ravi Ranjan said that an electric crematorium will be built at the ghat soon.
"We are urging people not to bury bodies there. An electric crematorium is to be built there for which permission has been received from the concerned department. The work will be completed soon," the official told ANI.
Incidents were reported in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where bodies were found floating in the river Ganga during the second wave of COVID-19. It was being construed that relatives of those who succumbed to the COVID may not have been able to find space or afford the last rites. However, the present scenario suggests a different reality. (ANI)