December 05, 2001 07:20 PM

Although George Harrison’s ashes are already believed to have been scattered over India’s sacred Ganges River, officials in the country on Wednesday are reversing earlier announcements about the ex-Beatle’s ashes being immersed there. “I think the whole story is a creation of the media,” Varanasi city police inspector-general Vikram Singh told Reuters. “You are running a wild goose chase.” Harrison, 58,died Thursday at an undisclosed friend’s home in Los Angeles after a lengthy battle with cancer. It has been reported that he was cremated before word of his death was made public, to protect his and his family’s privacy. But on Monday, Hare Krishna official Arajit Das said the guitarist-songwriter’s family was expected to visit the holy city of Varanasi for the ritual symbolizing the journey of his soul to eternal consciousness. Das’s position then changed by Wednesday, when he said, “Whatever I can tell you is on the basis of newspaper reports, because there’s no communication either from our ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) offices in Delhi or London, who are equally clueless about any plans to bring Harrison’s ashes to Varanasi for immersion.”

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