Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government ordered a probe after 104 bodies were found in a channel of the Ganga in Unnao district, officials said. Six more bodies were later recovered from the Betwa river in Jhansi.
Thirty bodies were recovered from the Ganga river’s channel till late Tuesday but by Wednesday morning, the number swelled up to 104.
Director General of Police A.K. Gupta sought a detailed report after recovery of the bodies in the Ganga, near the Periyaar Ghat, where bodies are generally cremated.
Gupta reportedly asked officials to probe all angles before arriving at a conclusion.
However, Kanpur Inspector General of Police Ashutosh Pandey said the bodies belonged to families who could not afford a decent cremation as per Hindu traditions and dumped them in the river.
The district administration used excavators to fish out the decomposed bodies from the river bed and the catchment areas, a step protested by residents and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
In a related development, six more bodies were recovered from the Betwa river in Jhansi. The bodies were found floating near the Nautaghat Jhansi on the Uttar Pradesh-Madhya Pradesh border.
Police said they were probing the matter and added that for now, it appeared that the bodies, like in Unnao, were dumped by poor families.
Meanwhile, DNA sampling of 81 bodies that were retrieved from the Ganga were taken for identification, an official said.
The rest 23 bodies were decomposed beyond recognition and officials refused to go near them.
The Unnao district magistrate said it was not possible to cremate all the bodies as per rites.