Written by Bella Dalima
14 Jan, 2015 | 4:40 pm
Over 100 bodies have been found in the river Ganges in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, prompting the authorities to order a probe.
Reports said the bodies were of people who were dumped in the river or buried on the banks after their families could not afford a proper cremation.
Many Indians regard the Ganges as holy and use it as a cremation site.
The 2,500km (1,500-mile) river has been badly polluted by industrial waste, farm pesticides and sewage.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed to clean up the river after his election victory last year.
Bodies were first found floating near the banks of the river on Tuesday in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district.
Villagers noticed the bodies when many had become stuck on the river bank with dogs and vultures circling the area.
More were found on Wednesday, and authorities said so far 104 bodies had been retrieved.
Officials say they believe the dead were given water burials or buried close to the river bank because many Hindus do not cremate unwed girls and young boys, and many poor people cannot afford cremation.
Activists say the discovery of so many rotting bodies in one place can be a serious health hazard.
A multi-billion dollar initiative to clean up the polluted river over the years has largely failed, environmentalists say.
They say the river supports more than 400 million people, and if the unabated pollution is not controlled, it will be the end of communities living along the banks.
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