October 15, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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COVID-19 in India | The holy waters of the Ganges are flowing with the dead

COVID-19 in India |  The holy waters of the Ganges are flowing with the dead

(Allahabad, India) Wise, saffron-colored garments float on the Ganges amidst large brown reeds, reminiscent of the ferocity with which the coronavirus struck India in the spring of India, killing tens of thousands in a matter of weeks.


Jalis Androbi
France Media Agency

Cemeteries and cemeteries were submerged in a flood of COVID-19 deaths in April and May. Due to lack of space or resources, many families in the North and East had to arrange for the bodies of their loved ones to be handed over to the Hindus by the waves of the sacred Ganges or buried in graves dug on its sand. Banks.

But with the onset of monsoons, torrential rains and floods occurred and the dead were buried.

Authorities in Allahabad, a major Hindu shrine in the state of Uttar Pradesh, told AFP that nearly 150 bodies had been cremated floating on the surface in the past three weeks.

Funeral pyres are cremated on the shore where piles of wood are piled up for other bodies.

600 Summary Burial

Dozens of partially submerged corpses are still in the river, the AFP found.

City officials estimate that about 600 bodies were buried on the banks of the Ganges at the height of the second epidemic waves of spring of Tuvu. But some residents underestimate this number and fear that in the ensuing floods, many remains unearthed from their makeshift graves.

Millions of Hindus traditionally go to the Ganges for ritual baths or cremations of their dead on its banks.

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Sonu Chandel, a boatman working at a cemetery on the banks of the Ganges, recalled being shocked to see the sketches buried two months ago and not feeling uncomfortable watching the ascending waters.

Fear of hitting the body

“It’s really sad that these poor people are burying their loved ones in such an unworthy manner, and rising water is making things worse,” he told AFP.

“I was always afraid that (the body) would touch my shore or (my boat) would go over the corpse as the water rose,” the injured man adds.

AFP Dipin Kumar, who lives far from the Ganges in Allahabad, said the situation was “dangerous causing diseases” and “the government should look into it, only it can take care of it.”

Residents of other major religious sites in northern India fear that the prolonged presence of corpses at the bottom of the river will further pollute the world’s most polluted watercourse.

Police and state rescue teams are patrolling the river in search of bodies to recover. Authorities decided to post two boats dedicated to this work ashore and sometimes called local fishermen.

“The flow is very fast,” a police official told AFP, “retrieving the bodies is a challenge at the moment.”