Local residents said six corpses were found, but the police and local administration claimed only two bodies were there.
Bodies were found floating in a river in Madhya Pradesh’s Panna district on Tuesday, after similar incidents occurred in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, reported Free Press Journal.
Decomposed corpses were seen floating in Kunj river in Nadanpur village under Dharampur police station. Villagers claimed that they told the local administration about the bodies but no one took any action.
After a section of media visited the spot and informed the police, a team from the Dharampur police station retrieved the corpses. While local residents said six bodies were found, the police claimed that only two bodies were there.
A villager said that the river was the only source of water for 90% of villagers. “We have only one hand pump in our village,” the villager told the media. “For the last six days, villagers and cattle have relied on the hand pump to meet water needs as river water had been contaminated due to corpses.”
Another resident expressed fear of an epidemic breaking out due to the bodies, reported NDTV.
However, Panna District Collector Sanjay Mishra said that just two bodies were found, and denied any link with the coronavirus.
“One body was of a 95-year-old villager,” he said. “Another was of a cancer patient. Both are from Nandanpur village. The village sarpanch has told us that both bodies were immersed and not cremated in the river as part of a long-standing tradition Both bodies were retrieved on Tuesday and were buried safely.”
Such incidents have happened in other places as well. Earlier on Tuesday, unidentified bodies were found floating in river Ganga in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur district. The bodies were suspected to be of coronavirus patients. Locals feared the bodies will contaminate the water and lead to the spread of the infection.
On Monday, the floating bodies in Ganga in Buxar had caused panic among the residents. While some reports said there were around 10 to 12 bodies, others said there were 40-45 bodies. Some reports placed the number even higher, at 150 bodies. Officials on Tuesday said a total of 71 corpses had washed up on the banks of Ganga.
On Sunday, several videos showed corpses, also believed to be of Covid-19 patients, floating in the Yamuna river near Hamirpur in Uttar Pradesh. Some local residents had claimed that fear of cremation was leading to the bodies being immersed in rivers.