Wednesday, 14 January 2015

100 bodies recovered from Ganga, DNA samples collected

Curiosity is brewing with recovery of 50 more bodies from river Ganga in Unnao on Wednesday, taking the number of such recoveries over the last few days to 100 and prompting the Centre to ask Uttar Pradesh government what was happening. While about 30 bodies were recovered on Tuesday, 50 more were found today from the river Ganga in Safipur area of Unnao district.

So far 80 bodies have been taken out from the river near Pariyar ghat, District Magistrate Saumya Agarwal said. She said the exact number of the recoveries could not be confirmed as bodies were still being recovered. Unofficially, the body count is said to be more than 100.

As the curiosity was brewing over the mysterious recoveries, Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) A Satish Ganesh said these were bodies ostensibly of unmarried girls and children who were disposed off in the river by their kin as part of last rites. The bodies surfaced after water receded near Pariyar Ghat, he said.

"During preliminary investigation, local residents informed that instead of cremating the bodies of unmarried girls they are set adrift in the Ganga river," the IG said. "Most of the bodies were badly mutilated so it was difficult to ascertain their gender," he said.

The DM said post-mortem was not possible as per the opinion of the doctors and instead sampling was being done for DNA testing. A team of doctors led by Chief Medical Officer Geeta Yadav is taking forensic sample of the bodies.

In a related development, the sanitation workers have refused to take out the bodies from the river as they are in a very bad shape, an officer said. In Delhi, Union Minister for Water Resources and Ganga Cleaning Uma Bharti said, "We have also received information through the media, party workers and ministry officials over the issue."

She said she had spoken to the District Magistrate of Unnao and "I have also sought information from the Uttar Pradesh Government on how it happened."

DNA collected from bodies

A team of forensic experts on Wednesday collected DNA samples from 80 bodies. A team of 10 doctors from Unnao were requisitioned by the district administration for the job. The samples have been collected for assessing the cause of death and establishing the gender of the dead.

About 100 bodies were found floating near Pariyar Ghat in Unnao. Reports said that the Ganga here, after taking a bend in its course, follows a shallow path, which is why the bodies surfaced. The Unnao District Magistrate has been asked to submit a detailed report to the Home Department. IG (Law and Order) A. Satish Ganesh said since some of the bodies were in an advanced stage of decomposition it was not possible to collect their DNA extract. “The doctors expressed their inability to conduct any examination given the putrid state of the bodies,” Mr. Ganesh told reporters. The IG said prima facie the deaths appear to have been caused by natural causes. “The process of collecting DNA samples is being videographed,” he said.

Mr. Ganesh said a consensus to bury the bodies was agreed upon by public representatives, gram pradhans of the villages near the Pariyar Ghat, villagers and officials. The burial ritual would be conducted after mass prayers, called “shanti path”, as a mark of respect to the deceased, the IG (Law and Order) said. He added the DIG, Lucknow Range, R.K. Chaturvedi camped at the site overnight to oversee the meeting.

To identify the bodies, the gram pradhans have been asked by the Unnao district administration to submit information of those who died in their villages in the last six months. This would enable the authorities to trace their families.

Wednesday 14 January 2015


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