Dozens more bodies have washed up on the banks of the Ganges river, as footage emerged appearing to show ambulance staff tossing coronavirus
victims into the sacred waters.
Crematoriums in COVID-ravaged India
are struggling to keep pace with a spiralling death toll of almost 250,000.
In recent days, scores of dead bodies
of suspected coronavirus victims have been pulled from the Ganges River banks in eastern India.
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Footage on Indian news outlets appears to show ambulance staff throwing dead bodies into the Ganges River, as India buckles under a coronavirus second wave. (Mirror Now)
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Scores of dead bodies have been found floating down the Ganges River in eastern India amid a ferocious surge in coronavirus infections in the country. (AP)
Local authorities are investigating and a postmortem of the bodies has been carried out, but "due to heavy decomposition, we were unable to determine the cause of death," officials in the Bixar district of Bihar state said in a statement today.
An MP from India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Janardhan Singh Sigriwal, has claimed bodies of COVID dead are being thrown into the river by ambulance staff in Bihar.
Footage on Indian news channels has shown what appears to be ambulance staff throwing corpses into the river.
India currently accounts for one in three of the reported deaths from coronavirus around the world.
Wood is running short across the country, meaning bodies are not being burned on traditional funeral pyres.
Funeral costs have spiked, leaving some poverty-stricken families with no option other than to push the bodies of loved ones into the Ganges.
The second wave has infected millions across the country in the past month, with thousands dying every day.
With nearly 23 million confirmed cases since the pandemic began, India is the second-worst affected country after the United States.
India has so far recorded 249,992 deaths, but some fear the number dead is much higher.
Buxar officials said that based on the condition of the bodies, authorities believe the bodies came from further upstream - possibly from the states of Uttar Pradesh or Uttarakhand.
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Police officials stand guard at the banks of the river where several bodies were found lying in Ghazipur district in Uttar Pradesh. (AP)
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Some media reports said the number of corpses could be as high as 100. (CNN)
Buxar borders India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, where a lockdown was extended over the weekend until May 17.
As coronavirus infections continue to rise, at least 24 of India's 36 states and union territories are under full lockdowns.
The Ganges river flows through the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and finally into West Bengal where it empties out into the Bay of Bengal.