At least 40 human corpses have washed up on the banks of the Ganges river in northern India, officials say. The bodies were discovered in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Some sections of the media have estimated as many as 100 bodies floating. The condition in which they have been found suggests that they may have been in the river for several days.
Officials said the bodies appeared to be bloated and partially burnt, and that they may have ended up in the river as part of the practice of cremating victims of coronavirus along the river Ganges.
Local residents have blamed shortage of wood for cremations and the rising costs associated with funerals left families with no option but to put the bodies of loved ones who had died from coronavirus directly into the river.
India currently is the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic.
The second wave has ravaged parts of India, with deaths rising significantly in recent weeks. Most of the country’s crematoriums have run out of spaces.
India has recorded more than 22.6 million coronavirus cases and over 250,000 Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Experts believe the real death toll could be as much as ten times worse than the government’s official data.