Asia & Pacific

India Reportedly Deploys Police Units, CCTV to Prevent Water Burials in Ganges

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – India’s northeastern Uttar Pradesh state began deploying police units and CCTV cameras to stop water burials in the Ganges amid growing safety concerns after dozens of floating bodies of suspected COVID-19 victims had been found in the river, media reported on Saturday.

According to The Times of India newspaper, the state authorities sent 34 police units, aided by local emergency services and rescue teams, to monitor the river and inform the residents of the rules regarding proper burial procedures.

“We have told them to do cremation, and offered to provide 5,000 Indian rupees [$68] for the funeral,” Omprakash Singh, the state police superintendent, was cited as saying by the newspaper.

Over the past week, dozens of unidentified corpses washed up on the Ganges river banks near Ghazipur in the Uttar Pradesh state and Buxar district in the neighbouring Bihar state. The exact causes of their death are yet to be investigated, though the process is significantly hindered by the high level of decomposition of the bodies.

Locals reportedly turn to water burial due to a lack of wood for cremation, as is traditional in the Hindu religion. Media speculated that the shortage was caused by the high COVID-19 death toll as India grapples with the new wave of the pandemic.

India is currently the second-most infected country in the world, with over 24 million cases and 266,207 deaths.

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