Lucknow: Stirring up yet another controversy, Samajwadi Party functionary Azam Khan on Thursday claimed that Bharatiya Janata Party MP Sakshi Maharaj was responsible for the 104 bodies found in a channel of the Ganga river in Unnao district.
Giving the mystery a political colour, Khan claimed that trucks loaded with bodies were brought to Unnao.
He added that bodies were thrown in Ganga to blemish the reputation of the Uttar Pradesh government.
The Uttar Pradesh government had on Wednesday ordered a probe after 104 bodies were found in a channel of the Ganga. Six more bodies were later recovered from the Betwa river in Jhansi.
Director General of Police AK Gupta sought a detailed report after recovery of the bodies in the Ganga, near the Periyaar Ghat, where bodies are generally cremated.
Gupta reportedly asked officials to probe all angles before arriving at a conclusion.
However, Kanpur Inspector General of Police Ashutosh Pandey said the bodies belonged to families who could not afford a decent cremation as per Hindu traditions and dumped them in the river.
The district administration used excavators to fish out the decomposed bodies from the river bed and the catchment areas, a step protested by residents and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
In a related development, six more bodies were recovered from the Betwa river in Jhansi. The bodies were found floating near the Nautaghat Jhansi on the Uttar Pradesh-Madhya Pradesh border.
Police said they were probing the matter and added that for now, it appeared that the bodies, like in Unnao, were dumped by poor families.
Meanwhile, DNA sampling of 81 bodies that were retrieved from the Ganga were taken for identification, an official said.
The rest 23 bodies were decomposed beyond recognition and officials refused to go near them.
The Unnao district magistrate said it was not possible to cremate all the bodies as per rites.
Officials said the bodies would be buried in a mass grave near the ghat, as desired by locals.
BJP state president Laxmikant Bajpayi, who visited the site in Unnao where the bodies were found, rang up senior officials and protested the "inhumane treatment" being meted out to the dead.
Volunteers of the Ganga Bachao Andolan (Save Ganga Movement) led by Ramji Tripathi began a sit-in to protest dumping of the dead in the Ganga, which they said was polluting the river.
The recovery of bodies from the Ganga caused furore among residents as these were found a day before the Makar Sankranti festival when thousands take a holy dip in the river.
The Union Water Resources Ministry has sought a detailed report from the state government on the issue.
(With IANS inputs)