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Old Photos of Dead Bodies Floating in Ganga Passed Off as Recent

We found that the photos, which date back to 2015, were from Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao.

Updated
WebQoof
3 min read
Fact-Check | We found that the photos, which dates back to 2015, were from Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district.
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Old and unrelated photographs showing corpses floating in the river Ganga have been shared with a false claim that they are recent images from Bihar's Buxar area.

However, we found that both the images date back to 2015 and are from Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district.

On Tuesday, 11 May, the Bihar government said that a total of 71 bodies had been fished out of the Ganga river in Buxar, where they had been found floating in a decomposed state. Several bodies were found floating in the same river in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur as well.

CLAIM

Aam Aadmi Party MP Sushil Kumar Gupta shared the photo on his Facebook page with a caption which when translated from Hindi says, "Around 500 bodies have been seen floating in the Ganga in Buxar and Birpur areas of Bihar, many bodies were in COVID-19 kits. These bodies, which have accumulated in an area of close to 30 km, are a living example of the insensitivity of both the UP and Bihar governments and it is a big blot on the system."

(Note: The images in the links below may be distressing to some. Viewer’s discretion is advised.)

<div class="paragraphs"><p>An archive of the post can be found <a href="https://perma.cc/LM3U-W6CQ">here</a>.</p></div>

An archive of the post can be found here.

(Source: Screenshot/Facebook)

Another photo which was shared with a similar claim showed vultures and crows flying over floating dead bodies. The caption of the tweet said, "गंगा मैया में बहती उतर प्रदेश के शव बिहार के बक्सर जिला पहुंचा।"

[Translation: The bodies people from Uttar Pradesh have flown in the river Ganga and reached Buxar district in Bihar.]

<div class="paragraphs"><p>An archive of the post can be found <a href="https://perma.cc/LM3U-W6CQ"><a href="https://archive.is/cOE1f">here</a></a>.</p></div>

An archive of the post can be found here.

(Source: Screenshot/Twitter)

Several other Facebook and Twitter users shared the image with the same caption. Archives of more such posts can be found here, here and here.

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WHAT WE FOUND OUT

We found that both the images are old and could be traced back to 2015. Let’s take a look at them one by one.

IMAGE 1

We conducted a reverse image search of the image and found that the image was uploaded on stock photo website Getty Images on 14 January 2015.

The image was titled, ‘100 Bodies Recovered From Ganga River In Uttar Pradesh’ and the caption read: “Scavenger dogs and crow gather around dead human bodies that are floating in Ganga river near Pariyar.”

<div class="paragraphs"><p>A link to the post can be found <a href="https://www.gettyimages.in/detail/news-photo/scavenger-dogs-and-crow-gather-around-dead-human-bodies-news-photo/461525246">here</a>.</p></div>

A link to the post can be found here.

(Source: Screeshot/Getty images)

IMAGE 2

The second viral image was also found on Getty Images, posted on 14 January 2015.

The caption read: "Vultures and crows fly over the Pariyar ghat where around 80 bodies were found floating in the northern town of Unnao on 14 January 2015. Around 80 bodies have been found floating in a stream of India's Ganges, sparking renewed concerns about the health of the sacred river where millions of Hindus cremate their dead, an official said."

A link to the post can be found <a href="https://www.gettyimages.in/detail/news-photo/vultures-and-crows-fly-over-the-pariyar-ghat-where-around-news-photo/461523648">here</a>.
A link to the post can be found here.

(Source: Screeshot/Getty images)

WHAT HAD HAPPENED IN 2015?

Taking cue from here, we searched for news reports on the incident. A report in The Indian Express that was published on 14 January 2015 stated that nearly 100 decomposed bodies had surfaced near Pariyar Ghat in Unnao in Uttar Pradesh.

“Senior officials ruled out possibility of any foul play prima facie," the report added.

A report in the NDTV published in January 2015 mentioned that "both Kanpur and Unnao administrations had ordered an investigation into the matter and are making arrangements for the last rites.”

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While several dead bodies have been recovered from Ganga in the past week, the viral images of scavenger dogs and crows gathering around the bodies in the river are from 2015.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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