State authorities in India’s Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have been left exposed after hundreds of bodies suspected to be of COVID patients were found to be floating in the Ganges River.

Over the past two days, several videos have surfaced on social media appearing to depict hundreds of decomposed bodies dumped at Mahadev Ghat on the banks of Ganges River in the village of Chausa in the state of Bihar and the Ghazipur district of Uttar Pradesh. The two states share a border.

​Sputnik spoke to several residents of Chausa, Bihar, who stated that there is a panic-like situation across the village after the incident came to light on Monday.

“There is a panic-like situation across the village because people fear that the bodies may be of COVID patients. The bodies would be washed downstream and there are chances of the virus spreading. Firstly, there are very few health facilities available for people of the village and now this, where should we go”, said Vikram Jha.

Another resident, Brijesh Singh stated that people from other villages have been coming and disposing of bodies as they are unable to pay the heavy prices of crematorium/burial grounds or not finding a place to cremate their loved ones. 

“Some people immersed the bodies in the river while others disposed of half-burnt bodies in the water. I have seen around 40 bodies since yesterday [Monday]”, Singh said.

The local administration, however, believes that as the district’s border is closed to Uttar Pradesh, the bodies may have washed up from some other place in the state. 

“Around 70 bodies have been recovered so far from the district. As the district is close to the Uttar Pradesh border their are chances that the bodies might have come from there. A post-mortem has been done by a board of doctors, while DNA samples are being preserved for tests to establish identity. We will be carrying out their cremation”, District Magistrate Aman Sarin told Sputnik.

Reacting to the suspected allegations, a senior official from the Uttar Pradesh government stated that the bodies did not come from their state.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday several bodies were found floating in the same river in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur district. 

​Ghazipur District Magistrate MP Singh said that a probe is underway into the matter. “We are trying to find out where they came from”, he said while speaking to media.

The incidents come at a time when the country’s health infrastructure has been exposed during the second wave of COVID. Medical experts have hinted that the deadlier second wave is fast spreading to rural districts. Many rural districts in India lack basic medical infrastructure to tackle the pandemic.