Dozens of dead bodies were found floating down India’s Ganges River in Uttar Pradesh state Tuesday, a day after decomposing bodies were seen on the banks of the river in Buxar city in the state of Bihar.

The bodies were found in the city of Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh. Officials are investigating the matter to find out where the bodies came from.

According to media reports, locals suspect that these are the bodies of COVID-19 patients and the families must have consigned the bodies to the river.

The bodies of more than 70 suspected COVID-19 victims were retrieved in Buxar by the district administration and were disposed of.

Buxar Superintendent of Police Neeraj Kumar Singh told Anadolu Agency that they have recovered 71 bodies so far.

“They are four to five days old and are highly decomposed,” he said.

“The post mortem has been done, and we have conducted cremation as well.”

The country has been struggling with a deadly second wave of the coronavirus that has severely strained its health system, leading to shortages of oxygen supplies at hospitals as well as beds and coronavirus treatment drugs such as Remdesivir.

The official daily death toll in the country has averaged around 4,000.

Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat termed the incident “unfortunate.”

“The incident of corpses found floating in Ganga in Buxar region of Bihar is unfortunate. This is definitely a matter of investigation,” he tweeted.

“The Modi government is committed to the cleanliness of ‘mother’ Ganga. This incident is unexpected. The concerned states should take immediate cognizance in this regard,” he added.

Meanwhile, the number of total active COVID-19 cases in the country dipped to 3,715,221 with a net decline of 30,016 infections being recorded in a span of 24 hours for the first time after 61 days, the Union Health Ministry said Tuesday.

The total recoveries in a span of 24 hours also outnumbered the daily new COVID-19 cases after 61 days.

The total number of active cases now accounts for 16.16% of the country’s total coronavirus infections.

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