- Two men were arrested for allegedly throwing the body of a COVID-19 victim into the Rapti river
- They were identified as Sanjay Kumar and Manoj Kumar after a video of the incident ciruclated on social media
- The body, identified as Prem Nath Mishra, was initially handed over to his family for the funeral rites
Two men have been arrested after they were caught on video dumping the body of a COVID-19 victim into a river in India’s Uttar Pradesh state.
The video showed the two men amid a Saturday downpour preparing to throw the body into the Rapti river from a bridge in the Kotwali region of Balrampur, with one of them wearing a white personal protective equipment (PPE) suit.
Authorities were able to identify the body as Prem Nath Mishra from Shohratgarh in Uttar Pradesh’s Siddharth northern Nagar district. His relationship with Sanjay and Manor was not disclosed.
Officials said Mishra contracted COVID-19 and was taken to the hospital on May 25, where he died three days later (on Friday) while undergoing treatment for the disease, as per the India Today.
Mishra’s body was then handed over to family members for final cremation following protocol, but it was instead thrown into the river.
The incident comes two weeks after at least 90 bodies of COVID-19 victims were found floating in the rivers in Uttar Pradesh and in the neighboring state of Bihar, with officials still investigating the origins of the decomposing corpses.
Many believe the bodies were being dumped into the rivers due to the rising cost of cremation in the country. Crematoriums in India have been forced to construct makeshift funeral pyres in any available space such as parking lots and public parks in order to deal with the country’s surge in COVID-19 deaths.
Data from John Hopkin’s University indicated India currently has nearly 28 million reported COVID-19 cases and close to 330,000 deaths.
A variation of the virus dubbed the “Indian variant” was detected in the country in October, which experts believe is more infectious than previous strains.
Vietnam announced Saturday it had discovered a new hybrid variant of the Indian and U.K. strains of the virus that allegedly spreads quickly in the air.