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Nephew among two arrested for throwing Covid victim’s body into river from bridge in UP

Police identified the deceased as Premnath Mishra, a resident of Siddharthnagar district. He was diagnosed with Covid on 25 May and died on 28 May.

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Lucknow: Police in Uttar Pradesh Sunday arrested two men for throwing the body of a relative, a Covid patient, into the river from a bridge in Balrampur district. The incident came to light through a viral video where a man wearing a PPE suit, accompanied by an accomplice, is seen pushing over the body — which appears to be in a body bag — from the bridge, a thoroughfare, into the Rapti river.  

Police identified the deceased as Premnath Mishra, a resident of the neighbouring Siddharthnagar district. One of the men seen in the video has been identified as his nephew Sanjay, and the other as a friend of his.

“A man who has been identified as Premnath Mishra, a resident of Siddharthnagar district. Premnath was admitted to a hospital on 25 May after he tested positive for Covid-19,” Balrampur Additional Superintendent of Police Arvind Mishra told ThePrint.

“He died on 28 May while undergoing treatment for the infection. His body was handed over to his nephew Sanjay for cremation. But Sanjay and his friend threw his body into the river,” he said.

The police officer added that they have registered a case in this regard and are investigating the matter. He said the reason why the body was thrown into the river isn’t known. 

Also Read: By the rivers of the heartland & across Vindhyas, proof which politics sucks & which works

Floating bodies

Balrampur Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr D.B. Singh said Premnath’s body was handed over to his relatives at a crematorium, in keeping with Covid guidelines.

Earlier this month, several bodies were found buried on the banks of the Ganga in the Unnao and Prayagraj districts. This caused panic among people living in nearby areas. Viral photos have shown strong winds blow over the sand and expose decomposing bodies. It remains unconfirmed if the bodies were of Covid-19 patients.

The pandemic has also been marked by reports of bodies being spotted floating down rivers in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The reasons relatives offer vary — they point to soaring prices of wood, lack of cremation spaces, and the fear of infection, among others. 

(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)

Also Read: Death and journalism: India’s Covid deaths are undercounted, but twice the Partition toll?


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