The long-neglected issue of disposing dead bodies in the Ganga, a practice sanctioned by Hindu rituals, was brought to the notice of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) . Over 3,000 human bodies are immersed into the holy river just in Varanasi, every year, for salvation. These corpses float by as daily prayers, bathing, cooking and washing go on unabated on the river ghats. This puts innocent lives at risk besides creating a breeding ground for diseases and epidemic, it was pointed out to the environmental court.
The judicial bench, headed by chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, called the practice “unfortunate” and also criticised the BJP-led central government saying, “Your slogans are very contrary to your actions.” Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious ‘Namami Gange’ programme, `2,037 crore have been allocated to bring the Ganga back to its pristine state. Modi himself has in the past picked up the shovel to clean the ghats of Varanasi, his Lok Sabha constituency.