Dozens of bodies have been discovered floating in the Ganges as a brutal coronavirus wave continues to grapple India.
Witnesses said more than 100 bodies were dumped in the vast river in Bahir state, while dozens were swimming in the Yamuna River in Uttar Pradesh.
Disturbing shots from the river bank show half-burned bodies floating in the water while others were seen wrapped in shrouds.
A local official said NDTV : “They are bloated and have been in the water for at least five to seven days. We are disposing of the bodies.”
They added, “The bodies do not come from here as we have no tradition of dumping bodies in the river.”
The exciting scenes came as India continued to battle large numbers of coronavirus infections.
Today the Indian government announced that it had recorded a further 366,161 infections and 3,754 deaths, although the real number was likely much higher.
India is on the verge of hitting the grim milestone of 250,000 official deaths.
The large number of deaths has marginalized funeral services and families are struggling to find funeral pyres to dispose of their loved ones.
“It seems that the poor are being forced to throw away the bodies amid this pandemic,” said one of the residents, who lost three family members to Covid-19.
Mr. Abhishek, a senior doctor in Uttar Pradesh, said, “It is a major threat to the population after seeing these bodies thrown into the river.”
Officials in the city of Buxar, Bihar, said the bodies floated down the Ganges from Utter Pradesh.
Forty bodies had piled up on steps that led down to the river and an investigation had started to identify the dead.
India has been hit by the coronavirus since a mutant strain appeared in the country.
People infected with coronavirus die on the street, corpses pile up in crematoria and oxygen runs out in hospitals.
During a second wave known as the “tsunami,” infected people have wandered the streets in search of hospitals with open beds, morgues no longer running on stretchers, and trees from parks have been used to burn bodies.
There has been a wild hunt for oxygen, which is sold on the black market to keep critically ill relatives alive.
People have been hoarding supplies, causing panic and shortages in hospitals.