Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar on Thursday hit out at the Opposition for its accusation that the administration was hiding Covid-19 deaths, saying the city did not have a river where the bodies of patients could be dumped, ANI reported. Pednekar’s remark apparently targeted the state governments of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, where bodies of suspected Covid-19 patients were found floating in rivers last month.
“We saw on social media that bodies were dumped in rivers [in UP and Bihar],” she added. “Who is in power there?”
The mayor added: “We can’t hide deaths because here in Mumbai, a certificate is issued to everyone. Deaths in Mumbai are recorded at three places, so the numbers cannot be can’t be hidden.”
Mumbai has registered more than 7.13 lakh coronavirus cases and 15,100 deaths since the outbreak of the pandemic in January last year.
Pednekar’s remarks came on a day when India’s daily Covid-19 deaths hit a record 6,148 as Bihar revised its data. India toll since the Covid-19 outbreak rose to 3,59,676. Before this record, India had reported 4,529 deaths on May 19.
Bihar added 3,951 backlog deaths to its toll on Wednesday. This pushed the number to 9,429. Till Tuesday, the health department had stated the number of deaths to be under 5,500. The Bihar government said these previously unaccounted deaths were of patients in private hospitals and home isolation and those who died of post-Covid complications.
In May, thousands of bodies were found floating in rivers and buried in the sand along the banks in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar amid India’s devastating Covid-19 crisis, triggering shock and outrage.
Following this, the National Human Rights Commission had released an advisory for the Union government, all the states and Union Territories, calling for a special law to uphold the dignity of the dead.
According to a report by Dainik Bhaskar published on May 14, over 2,000 bodies were found floating or buried in a 1,140 km stretch along the river Ganga in Uttar Pradesh.
On May 13, seven bodies were found floating in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi district. Earlier on May 12, several corpses were found buried in sand in at least two locations along the Ganga river in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district.
Two days before that, unidentified bodies, suspected to be of coronavirus patients, were found floating in river Ganga in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur district. Later that day, a similar incident was reported from Madhya Pradesh’s Panna district.
On May 10, floating bodies in the Ganga in Buxar district of Bihar had caused panic among the residents. While some reports said there were around 10 to 12 bodies, others said there were 40-45 corpses. Some reports placed the number even higher, at 150 bodies. A day earlier, several videos showed corpses, also believed to be of Covid-19 patients, floating in the Yamuna river near Hamirpur in Uttar Pradesh.