The bodies of at least 40 people were thrown into the banks of the Ganges River in northern India, officials said.
The order was confirmed, near the border between Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, to the BBC on Monday.
It is not clear how the bodies got there, but local media reports indicate that they may have been Covid-19 victims.
Some media reports say that as many as 100 bodies have been found, and that their condition indicates that they may have been in the river for several days.
“There is a possibility that these bodies have come out from Uttar Pradesh,” Ashok Kumar, a local official, told the BBC after questioning local residents.
He said that the remains would be buried or cremated.
Officials also said that the bodies appeared to be swollen and partially burnt, and may have ended up in the river as part of the practice of cremating the corpses of Corona virus victims along the Ganges River in Uttar Pradesh, NDTV Hindi news channel reported.
Some local residents and journalists told the BBC Hindi that the lack of wood for cremation and the high costs associated with funerals leave some families with no choice but to put the corpses of their loved ones who died from the Corona virus directly in the river.
“Private hospitals are looting people. People don’t have money for the priest and cremation ceremonies. They only ask for 2,000 rupees ($ 27) to get the body out of the ambulance. The river has become their last resort so people throw corpses into the river,” said Chandra Mohan, a local resident.
Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state in India.
A second wave of the virus is sweeping parts of India, causing the death toll to rise dramatically in recent weeks. The country has run out of crematorium areas.
The country is now the epicenter of the global pandemic.
India has recorded more than 22.6 million cases of coronavirus, and 246,116 deaths related to the Covid virus since the start of the epidemic, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Experts believe the true number of deaths could be much higher.