A study conducted by scientists and researchers of Council for Science and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR) recently submitted a 120-page report declaring that there was no trace of coronavirus in any water sample collected from river Ganga during the second wave of COVID-19 outbreak in India.
The report, which is exclusively accessed by The New Indian, says that the samples of water that were collected from 13 locations of the Ganga river and were subjected to the RT-PCR test as done on humans yielded negative results, meaning none of the samples had traces of coronavirus.
The report concluded, “Of a total of 132 samples (378 sample triplicates/ 1134 technical triplicates) analyzed, none of the samples was found positive for the presence of SARS CoV-2 virus.”
The findings of the report are singularly momentous given that a slew of journalists and western media outlets had run a smear campaign against the Yogi Adityanath government, accusing his administration of hiding COVID-related deaths after corpses were found floating in the Ganga river.
The media outlets had then conjectured that the dead bodies in the Ganga river were of people who died due to COVID-19 related complications and the administration understated the actual death by disposing of their bodies in the river. Various Indian journalists such as Barkha Dutt and others belonging to the left persuasion promoted the theory that the dead bodies found in the river Ganga were COVID-19 related deaths.
Study debunks the western media’s narrative that dead bodies in Ganga were affected by COVID-19
Speaking to The New Indian, S K Barik, Director, CSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR), said the report makes it abundantly clear that there was no COVID virus present in the Ganga river. He said the study was grounded in robust scientific procedure and adequate sample size, putting paid to the speculations and suppositions that the Ganga river was used as a medium to dispose of COVID-related deaths.
“The Standard Operating Procedure(SOP) has been same as that we have tested for humans for RT PCR for any presence of coronavirus. But the result is that there was no trace of coronavirus in the water at all,” Barik said.
As per the report, the sampling by the CSIR-IITR was done in May and then again in June this year during the second wave of coronavirus outbreak.
“The primary aim of the study was to find whether SARs COV-2 was present in water or not. Samples were obtained from different parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, taken from the middle of the river, banks of the river and so on, but none of them came back positive for the virus,” Barik added.
The Ganga river locations included Kannauj, Unnao, Kanpur, Prayagraj, Mirzapur, Varanasi, Buxar, Hamirpur, Ghazipur, Ballia, Patna, Saran and Bhojpur.
‘Not a single sample collected from various sites yielded positive result for COVID-19’: Report
“Dead bodies being buried along the banks and floating in river Ganga has been reported in major cities with the fear of spreading SARS-CoV-2. Keeping in view of this alarming situation, various authorities such as NMCG, CPCB, SPCB and specialized virology testing institutes joined hands and initiated the investigation of SARS Cov-2 virus contamination and analysis of water quality due to disposal of dead bodies in river Ganga. The investigation concluded that in each sampling site the water quality was found to deviate from the standard norms. However, the overall water quality was not affected,” the study said.
The study further said, “The analysis report also shows that SARS- CoV-2 was not detected in any of the sites. Thus, it can be concluded that disposal of bodies did not largely affect the water quality of river Ganga though few of the parameters deviated from the standard norms which may be due to other anthropogenic activities.”
The report, however, added that disposing of bodies in the river Ganga did take place but said that there was no evidence to prove that people whose bodies were found in river Ganga died due to COVID-19.
The findings of the report have now begged several questions in Uttar Pradesh, with many asking if the campaign to malign the UP government and the BJP was a carefully designed ploy by the western media outlets to defame India and show it in a bad light by accusing it of understating COVID-relates deaths by dumping dead bodies in Ganga. The findings also assume special significance as the smear campaign against the UP government came just months ahead of the state assembly elections, which are slated to take place early next year.
While the BJP welcomed the report and asserted that its findings vindicates the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, the opposition parties were clearly not happy with the conclusion of the study. Congress and SP in Uttar Pradesh rejected the findings, saying everybody saw that deaths took place due to COVID-19 and those bodies who were found floating in river Ganga were of COVID-19 positive patients only.
Western media outlets resort to vulture journalism and tragedy porn to malign India
The opposition parties’ assertion stems from the extensive misinformation campaign and vulture journalism practised by some Indian journalists and western-based media organisations, who took it upon themselves to depict that India is struggling to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.
As India continued to reel under the ferocious second wave of the coronavirus outbreak, the foreign media outlets went into overdrive, feasting on the dead and projecting a grim picture of the tragedy. From obsessing over the funeral pyres to spreading fake news about COVID-19 dead bodies being dumped in Ganga, foreign media outlets junked the last vestiges of journalistic ethics and integrity in their coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak in India. The contagion, which took a devastating toll in India from April to June 2021, was suddenly symbolised by pictures of the burning funeral pyres, floating dead bodies in Ganga, and bereaved people mourning the death of their loved ones.
Many journalists, especially Barkha Dutt, were among those who amplified the narrative that the Uttar Pradesh, Bihar administration have been hiding the real casualties of the COVID-19 related deaths by disposing of bodies in the river Ganga. Soon enough, many western media organisations lapped up the narrative and published reports claiming that people in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were forced to dump the dead bodies of their kin who died from COVID-19 in the river Ganga as the state administration was focused on reporting a low number of coronavirus-related deaths.