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Pictures | Wed Jul 23, 2014 | 7:14pm IST

Waiting to die at Salvation House

Traffic passes through a busy junction near the river Ganges in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 18, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Traffic passes through a busy junction near the river Ganges in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 18, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Traffic passes through a busy junction near the river Ganges in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 18, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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A woman stands outside Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. "Mukti Bhavan" or "Salvation House", is a charity-run hostel that caters for people who wish to come to Varanasi to die. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A woman stands outside Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. "Mukti Bhavan" or "Salvation House", is a charity-run hostel that caters for people who wish to come to Varanasi to die....more

A woman stands outside Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. "Mukti Bhavan" or "Salvation House", is a charity-run hostel that caters for people who wish to come to Varanasi to die. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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Bhairav Nath Shukla, manager of Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House), looks out of a window while praying inside his office in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. Guests can normally stay up to two weeks after which, if they haven't yet passed away, they are gently asked to leave. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Bhairav Nath Shukla, manager of Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House), looks out of a window while praying inside his office in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. Guests can normally stay up to two weeks after which, if...more

Bhairav Nath Shukla, manager of Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House), looks out of a window while praying inside his office in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. Guests can normally stay up to two weeks after which, if they haven't yet passed away, they are gently asked to leave. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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A records diary inside the office of Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A records diary inside the office of Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A records diary inside the office of Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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Clothes hang out to dry inside Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Clothes hang out to dry inside Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Clothes hang out to dry inside Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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Hindu priests rest in their room after conducting morning prayers at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Hindu priests rest in their room after conducting morning prayers at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Hindu priests rest in their room after conducting morning prayers at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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Savitri, an 80-year-old widow, poses for a photograph inside her room at Mumukshu Bhavan (Home of the Ailing) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Savitri, an 80-year-old widow, poses for a photograph inside her room at Mumukshu Bhavan (Home of the Ailing) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Savitri, an 80-year-old widow, poses for a photograph inside her room at Mumukshu Bhavan (Home of the Ailing) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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Kishore Pandey, 82, lies on a bed as his daughter, Usha Tiwari, holds him and a priest stands by them (L) at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Kishore Pandey, 82, lies on a bed as his daughter, Usha Tiwari, holds him and a priest stands by them (L) at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Kishore Pandey, 82, lies on a bed as his daughter, Usha Tiwari, holds him and a priest stands by them (L) at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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Neelam Tiwari, 38, peels lychees for her father Kishore Pandey, 82, inside Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Neelam Tiwari, 38, peels lychees for her father Kishore Pandey, 82, inside Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Neelam Tiwari, 38, peels lychees for her father Kishore Pandey, 82, inside Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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Kishore Pandey, 82, lies on a bed next to Hindu holy book, the Ramayana, at Mukti Bhawan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Kishore Pandey, 82, lies on a bed next to Hindu holy book, the Ramayana, at Mukti Bhawan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Kishore Pandey, 82, lies on a bed next to Hindu holy book, the Ramayana, at Mukti Bhawan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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Kishore Pandey, 82, lies on a bed as his daughter Neelam Tiwari folds a cloth at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Kishore Pandey, 82, lies on a bed as his daughter Neelam Tiwari folds a cloth at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Kishore Pandey, 82, lies on a bed as his daughter Neelam Tiwari folds a cloth at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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Bhairav Nath Shukla (L), manager of Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House), sits during morning prayers as a priest walks past his office in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 20, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Bhairav Nath Shukla (L), manager of Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House), sits during morning prayers as a priest walks past his office in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 20, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Bhairav Nath Shukla (L), manager of Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House), sits during morning prayers as a priest walks past his office in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 20, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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Bhairav Nath Shukla, manager of Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House), recites during morning prayers in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 20, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Bhairav Nath Shukla, manager of Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House), recites during morning prayers in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 20, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Bhairav Nath Shukla, manager of Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House), recites during morning prayers in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 20, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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Munna Kuvar, 105, lies on a bed as she is comforted by relatives at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Munna Kuvar, 105, lies on a bed as she is comforted by relatives at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Munna Kuvar, 105, lies on a bed as she is comforted by relatives at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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Relatives of Munna Kuvar, 105, sit inside her room at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 18, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Relatives of Munna Kuvar, 105, sit inside her room at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 18, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Relatives of Munna Kuvar, 105, sit inside her room at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 18, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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Bhogla Devi, 97, is comforted by her grandson Divyesh Tiwari as she cries in pain at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Bhogla Devi, 97, is comforted by her grandson Divyesh Tiwari as she cries in pain at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Bhogla Devi, 97, is comforted by her grandson Divyesh Tiwari as she cries in pain at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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Children of Mukti Bhavan employees play cricket inside its premises in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Children of Mukti Bhavan employees play cricket inside its premises in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Children of Mukti Bhavan employees play cricket inside its premises in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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A priest lights a lamp as another blows a conch shell inside a shrine during evening prayers at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A priest lights a lamp as another blows a conch shell inside a shrine during evening prayers at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A priest lights a lamp as another blows a conch shell inside a shrine during evening prayers at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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A priest rings a bell as he prays inside an office at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A priest rings a bell as he prays inside an office at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A priest rings a bell as he prays inside an office at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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A man plays the harmonium as others chant during evening prayers at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A man plays the harmonium as others chant during evening prayers at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A man plays the harmonium as others chant during evening prayers at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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A Hindu priest rests after attending evening prayers at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A Hindu priest rests after attending evening prayers at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A Hindu priest rests after attending evening prayers at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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A relative of a patron walks out of Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A relative of a patron walks out of Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A relative of a patron walks out of Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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Bhairav Nath Shukla, manager of Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House), looks through the records inside his office in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Bhairav Nath Shukla, manager of Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House), looks through the records inside his office in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Bhairav Nath Shukla, manager of Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House), looks through the records inside his office in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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Relatives of patrons listen to priests as they chant during evening prayers at the Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014.  REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Relatives of patrons listen to priests as they chant during evening prayers at the Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Relatives of patrons listen to priests as they chant during evening prayers at the Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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Munna Kuvar, 105, lies on a bed at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 18, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Munna Kuvar, 105, lies on a bed at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 18, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Munna Kuvar, 105, lies on a bed at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 18, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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An empty room is seen at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 20, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

An empty room is seen at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 20, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

An empty room is seen at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 20, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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A relative (L) of Champa Devi, 88, sits next to her body, minutes after her death at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) at Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 21, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A relative (L) of Champa Devi, 88, sits next to her body, minutes after her death at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) at Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 21, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A relative (L) of Champa Devi, 88, sits next to her body, minutes after her death at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) at Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 21, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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Devki Rai, 49, lies next to the body of her mother Champa Devi, minutes after her death at the Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 21, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Devki Rai, 49, lies next to the body of her mother Champa Devi, minutes after her death at the Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 21, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Devki Rai, 49, lies next to the body of her mother Champa Devi, minutes after her death at the Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 21, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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A body is carried through a street to the banks of the river Ganges in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 18, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A body is carried through a street to the banks of the river Ganges in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 18, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A body is carried through a street to the banks of the river Ganges in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 18, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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A man poses for a photograph with the body of a deceased relative prior to cremation on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A man poses for a photograph with the body of a deceased relative prior to cremation on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A man poses for a photograph with the body of a deceased relative prior to cremation on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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Relatives immerse a body in the river Ganges prior to cremation in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Relatives immerse a body in the river Ganges prior to cremation in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Relatives immerse a body in the river Ganges prior to cremation in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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A body is left to dry prior to cremation on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A body is left to dry prior to cremation on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A body is left to dry prior to cremation on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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A man places wood on a funeral pyre at a cremation on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A man places wood on a funeral pyre at a cremation on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A man places wood on a funeral pyre at a cremation on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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People watch as pyres burn at a cremation ground on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

People watch as pyres burn at a cremation ground on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

People watch as pyres burn at a cremation ground on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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Hindu devotees travel past holy ghats on the banks of the river Ganges in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 16, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Hindu devotees travel past holy ghats on the banks of the river Ganges in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 16, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Hindu devotees travel past holy ghats on the banks of the river Ganges in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 16, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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