Multiple bodies have been found buried in the sand along the Ganges river in northern India, officials say, days after bodies of suspected coronavirus victims were seen floating on the water.
Local media reported that since the death toll in the ongoing second wave of the pandemic began to rise in India, prices for cremations have shot up.
This may have caused poor families to either consign remains of patients to the river or bury them instead.
Many bodies draped in saffron cloth, a colour sacred to Hindus, were found buried by the river in two locations in Unnao district in the state of Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday.
A senior administration official said one of the sites was a major regional cremation spot, and there was no confirmation that the bodies were of Covid-19 patients.
“Some people in the region do not burn bodies but bury them in the sand by the river. Several bodies appear to have been buried recently, our teams are on the spot and are carrying out a probe,” District Magistrate Ravindra Kumar told dpa by phone.
Nearly 100 bodies had washed up on the banks of the Ganges in neighbouring districts in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar earlier this week, with the frightening visuals sparking shock among locals as well as on Indian social media.