New Delhi: A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in the Supreme Court on Thursday sought direction for setting up a Special Investigating Agency to supervise the probe into around 100 corpses found floating in the river Ganga in Bihar’s Buxar and Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao and Ghazipur districts.
The petition filed by two lawyers — Pradeep Yadav and Vishal Thakre — sought direction to constitute an SIT directing the respondent authorities to conduct postmortems of the dead bodies which were found floating in the river Ganga in Buxar, Ghazipur and Unnao districts respectively.
The petitioner-cum-lawyer duo of Yadav and Thakre said that the recovery of these decomposed corpses from the river Ganga raises serious concern as the river water is the freshwater source for many people in the areas and if the bodies were infected by COVID 19, then it might spread among the villages in both the states because of contaminated water.
“The states till now have not taken any single effective step towards the purification of water, which has become contaminated due to these decomposed corpses floating in it and both the states are not fulfilling their responsibility of providing clean water to their natives and thus, violated Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” the petition said.
“The act of the states is inhuman as the states have failed to provide facilities for decent burial or cremation of dead bodies and have also failed to keep a check that the holy river, Ganga should not have been polluted by such an inhumane and indecent act either of an individual or of states itself,” the petition added.
Right to dignity and fair treatment
The top court in Parmanand Katara, (an advocate) v/s Union of India case, had held that the right to dignity and fair treatment under Article 21 of the Constitution of India is not only available to a man during his life but also to his body after his death.
“The present case, where around 100 dead bodies are found in river Ganga may be a case, whereby people illegally dealing in organ transplantation have brutally murdered these people after removing their internal organs and thereafter in the name of COVID, they have dumped the dead bodies in the river after wrapping them in plastic bags,” the petition claimed.
The plea said the states have failed to keep a check on its crematoriums wherein nowadays “there is a huge hike in the prices for cremating a dead body” according to the rituals as the people managing the crematoriums have taken deaths as an opportunity to earn huge profits and the states have failed to fix any price for cremating dead bodies.
The petition further claimed that the governments of both the States –Bihar and Uttar Pradesh– are running away from the responsibility and instead of finding out as to how dead bodies are dumped into the holy river Ganga, a blame game has begun between the two states.
“Out of 100 human bodies found floating in the river Ganga, 71 bodies have been fished out at Mahadev Ghat, Chausa, district Buxar, Bihar over and above that to the information of the petitioner more than 30 bodies were found in district Ghazipur, UP,” the petition said.
The plea said that no postmortems were conducted on the said corpses and concerned authorities had buried the dead bodies by preparing verbatim false post-mortem reports which are an eyewash and show that investigation had been conducted.
The plea demanded that each dead body be removed and a proper post-mortem conducted in order to verify the cause of death.
“It is clear and apparent that the person whose dead bodies floated has not died a natural death. The administration in order to hide /save their face from the responsibility of such inhuman act has prepared false verbatim post mortem without actually doing the post mortem of dead bodies,” the petition claimed.