Aaj Tak decided to run an exclusive story on May 19 about how the Covid-19 crisis has rendered ordinary citizens in Uttar Pradesh incapable of even performing dignified last rites of their loved ones. In what the news channel would have thought would make people tear up with emotions, Aaj Tak made a story out of a burial ground in Prayagraj where people mainly of the Buddhist faith bury their loved ones. Visuals of the said burial ground were flashed around as though the bodies lying covered with orange, yellow and red clots were a result of the Covid-19 crisis.
Aaj Tak, in its report, claimed that poverty and rising cremation costs was seemingly forcing people to bury their loved ones along the banks of the river Ganga in Prayagraj. The news anchor, who gave a rather heavy build up prior to the telecast of the fake report of “Covid-19 victims” being buried along the river banks, made use of heavy words which were aimed at shocking the conscience of the viewers. Aaj Tak thought that it could get away with spreading fallacious misinformation. However, it has been caught red-handed trying to spread sheer propaganda against the Yogi Adityanath government of Uttar Pradesh.
According to a mahant, who has for the past 40 years conducted burials at the very exact riverbank area, followers of certain tribes and sects, particularly belonging to the Buddhist faith have a tradition of burying the dead along the riverside. In fact, even a Washington Post report quoted a Buddhist man who was performing the burial of his mother as saying, “She was not infected with COVID-19.” He added that his religion allows both cremation and burial, “but I chose burial.”
Prayagraj observes an age-old tradition of burying dead bodies along the holy river Ganges. It seems all the lies spread by the opposition is coming to the fore one by one..#Ganga #ganges #GangaRiver #Prayagraj #UttarPradesh #IndiaFightsCorona #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/6C4cuHvcst
— Know The Nation (@knowthenation) May 21, 2021
If one were to watch the video given above, it would not be an astronomical difficulty to realise that most of the individuals asked about the practice of burying the dead in the sand of riverbanks associated themselves with the Buddhist faith. The practice has not erupted due to Covid-19 or poverty. It is simply a tradition, which media houses like Aaj Tak are sensationalising in order to gain monetarily.
Even officials quoted by the Washington Post have said that the riverside burials have taken place for decades. Navneet Sehgal, a state government spokesman also said that some villagers did not cremate their dead as is customary, due to a Hindu tradition during some periods of religious significance, and instead disposed of them in rivers or by digging graves on riverbanks.
Aaj Tak should be ashamed of itself for trying to portray the practice of burying the dead by people with a mandate to do so as some sort of a Covid-induced crisis. Linking the same to poverty and rising firewood prices is all the more abominable.