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UP: Long lines for funerals return in Varanasi ghats

Local newspaper report Covid-like atmosphere at crematoriums with multiple bodies on the pyre at once

Sabrangindia 17 Jun 2022

Funerals
Image Courtesy:amarujala.com

The horror of excess deaths returns in the Ghats of Varanasi. As the heat in cremation grounds rises, the plague of long lines, insufficient facilities and simultaneously burning pyres return, reports Amar Ujala.

On June 15, 2022, Amar Ujala, a widely circulating Hindi newspaper reported, in an exclusive report on how the Mokshanagari Kashi crematorium once again reports long lines of families waiting to carry out the last rites of their kin. After the surge of Covid-19 cases last year, the area reported around 40-50 deaths at the crematoriums. Since last week, these numbers have increased to 120 deaths.

People wait for four hours to bid their deceased goodbye while the officials call more people to carry out cremations. Amar Ujala reported that due to lack of platform(s) and construction work at Manikarnika shrine, space for cremation is falling short. Since last week, it has reported 100 to 120 deaths. From June 13 till June 14 night, over 135 cremations took place at Manikarnika Ghat.

Funerals

One person told the newspaper that he travelled from Patna with his grandfather’s body. Further, as in times of Covid-19 surge, the demand for wood has also doubled. As many as 12 bodies are burnt simultaneously on lower platforms and 10 bodies are burnt on upper platforms.

Overall, people from districts of Purvanchal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh all visit the Kashi region for last rites. Part of this reason may be because locals are reluctant to allow the bodies to be buried in villages, on private land. In Ishwarpur village, Amar Ujala said that there was a dispute on Tuesday morning over the burial of an old man on private land. The SDM Pindra and the police pacified villagers by assuring them the son would bury the body away from the public. Similarly, a retired doctor from the Health department CMS also faced flak from villagers for trying to bury his 85-year-old deceased mother Surjakali in private land. While officials again had to intervene to settle the matter, the shocking fact is that these deaths are – once again – not reflected in government figures.

On June 9, India reported 7,240 active Covid-19 cases. This was the first time since March 1 that the daily number of active cases exceeded the 7,000 mark. In the month of June, over 39,400 fresh cases have been reported in India. For this reason, Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi and Karnataka were put on high alert.

Accordingly, the four regions have reported around 1,000 (Delhi) to over 4,000 (Maharashtra) infections with Karnataka reporting around 800 deaths.  Maharashtra reported three deaths, Kerala reported eight deaths, Karnataka reported one death and Delhi reported two deaths by June 17. However Uttar Pradesh, despite reporting 20,83,072 cases with an increase of 413 cases has not reported any deaths.

On Friday, Indian Express also reported how Covid-19 cases in Uttar Pradesh increased by 413 cases on Thursday over the last 24 hours with Varanasi reporting 14 new cases. Still, there were no reports over the number of deaths.

Earlier in 2021, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) published a report on the death figures in Varanasi. The survey in parts of Varanasi, Ghazipur, Jaunpur and Chandauli showed how the Ghats were inundated with bodies and lack of supplies during the second wave of Covid-19. Families failed to report deaths in rural areas and many people were unaware of the precautions necessary against Covid-19. Data suggested that areas in eastern UP especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi had 60 percent excess deaths during the pandemic relative to 2019.

As per CJP’s report, surveyed areas had 55-60 percent more deaths from January 2020 to August 2021 than expected in this period. Subsequent coverage of the region also showed how people were struggling to access hospitals even for regular virals or infections.

The state government was accused of manipulating Covid-related data to create the impression that the healthcare system was effective. Now, this report by Amar Ujala comes after the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) estimates of a whopping 47.4 lakh excess deaths in India. This number is nearly 10 times the country’s official Covid-19 reported deaths between 2020 and 2021.

With cases once again on the rise, people are being once again urged – at least by the four state governments on alert – to follow Covid-protocols and exercise social distancing.

Related:

In 2021, COVID Deaths Surged in Stunning Fashion in Eastern UP, Investigation Finds
47.4 lakh excess deaths in India: WHO
India ranks high in cumulative excess Covid-deaths: Lancet report
UP: 1,621 people on polling duty dead, but gov't recognises only 3! 

 

UP: Long lines for funerals return in Varanasi ghats

Local newspaper report Covid-like atmosphere at crematoriums with multiple bodies on the pyre at once

Funerals
Image Courtesy:amarujala.com

The horror of excess deaths returns in the Ghats of Varanasi. As the heat in cremation grounds rises, the plague of long lines, insufficient facilities and simultaneously burning pyres return, reports Amar Ujala.

On June 15, 2022, Amar Ujala, a widely circulating Hindi newspaper reported, in an exclusive report on how the Mokshanagari Kashi crematorium once again reports long lines of families waiting to carry out the last rites of their kin. After the surge of Covid-19 cases last year, the area reported around 40-50 deaths at the crematoriums. Since last week, these numbers have increased to 120 deaths.

People wait for four hours to bid their deceased goodbye while the officials call more people to carry out cremations. Amar Ujala reported that due to lack of platform(s) and construction work at Manikarnika shrine, space for cremation is falling short. Since last week, it has reported 100 to 120 deaths. From June 13 till June 14 night, over 135 cremations took place at Manikarnika Ghat.

Funerals

One person told the newspaper that he travelled from Patna with his grandfather’s body. Further, as in times of Covid-19 surge, the demand for wood has also doubled. As many as 12 bodies are burnt simultaneously on lower platforms and 10 bodies are burnt on upper platforms.

Overall, people from districts of Purvanchal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh all visit the Kashi region for last rites. Part of this reason may be because locals are reluctant to allow the bodies to be buried in villages, on private land. In Ishwarpur village, Amar Ujala said that there was a dispute on Tuesday morning over the burial of an old man on private land. The SDM Pindra and the police pacified villagers by assuring them the son would bury the body away from the public. Similarly, a retired doctor from the Health department CMS also faced flak from villagers for trying to bury his 85-year-old deceased mother Surjakali in private land. While officials again had to intervene to settle the matter, the shocking fact is that these deaths are – once again – not reflected in government figures.

On June 9, India reported 7,240 active Covid-19 cases. This was the first time since March 1 that the daily number of active cases exceeded the 7,000 mark. In the month of June, over 39,400 fresh cases have been reported in India. For this reason, Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi and Karnataka were put on high alert.

Accordingly, the four regions have reported around 1,000 (Delhi) to over 4,000 (Maharashtra) infections with Karnataka reporting around 800 deaths.  Maharashtra reported three deaths, Kerala reported eight deaths, Karnataka reported one death and Delhi reported two deaths by June 17. However Uttar Pradesh, despite reporting 20,83,072 cases with an increase of 413 cases has not reported any deaths.

On Friday, Indian Express also reported how Covid-19 cases in Uttar Pradesh increased by 413 cases on Thursday over the last 24 hours with Varanasi reporting 14 new cases. Still, there were no reports over the number of deaths.

Earlier in 2021, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) published a report on the death figures in Varanasi. The survey in parts of Varanasi, Ghazipur, Jaunpur and Chandauli showed how the Ghats were inundated with bodies and lack of supplies during the second wave of Covid-19. Families failed to report deaths in rural areas and many people were unaware of the precautions necessary against Covid-19. Data suggested that areas in eastern UP especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi had 60 percent excess deaths during the pandemic relative to 2019.

As per CJP’s report, surveyed areas had 55-60 percent more deaths from January 2020 to August 2021 than expected in this period. Subsequent coverage of the region also showed how people were struggling to access hospitals even for regular virals or infections.

The state government was accused of manipulating Covid-related data to create the impression that the healthcare system was effective. Now, this report by Amar Ujala comes after the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) estimates of a whopping 47.4 lakh excess deaths in India. This number is nearly 10 times the country’s official Covid-19 reported deaths between 2020 and 2021.

With cases once again on the rise, people are being once again urged – at least by the four state governments on alert – to follow Covid-protocols and exercise social distancing.

Related:

In 2021, COVID Deaths Surged in Stunning Fashion in Eastern UP, Investigation Finds
47.4 lakh excess deaths in India: WHO
India ranks high in cumulative excess Covid-deaths: Lancet report
UP: 1,621 people on polling duty dead, but gov't recognises only 3! 

 

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