In a shocking case of alleged mass suicide, 11 members of a family in Delhi’s Burari were found dead on Sunday. The incident took place in Sant Nagar locality where 10 members were found hanging in a hallway inside their home with their hands tied and eyes blindfolded while the eldest member of the family was found dead in another room.
The deceased include the matriarch of the family Narayani Devi (75), her sons Bhavnesh (50) Lalit (45), their wives Savita (48) and Teena (42), and their children Nidhi (25), Maneka (23), Dhruv (15) and Shivam (15). Devi’s daughter Pratibha (57), a widow and her daughter Priyanka (33) were also found dead, reports Indian Express.
The family dog Jacky who was found alive had been sent to the terrace. Police have registered an FIR under 302 (murder).
No sign of struggle
The Bhatia family runs a general store in the area which generally opens around 5:30 am in the morning. However, on Sunday, it remained closed following which their neighbour Gurcharan Singh went to their house to inquire. Upon witnessing the dead bodies, Singh immediately informed the police, reports The Times of India.
The bodies of all the eleven members have been sent for postmortem. As per preliminary reports, the cause of death of six people is ‘ligature hanging’ and there was no sign struggle, reports ANI.
No sign of robbery
There was no sign of robbery as all the valuables in the house were found intact. The house was not ransacked and jewellery on women’s body wasn’t missing.
Bizarre mystical practices
Police suspect that the deaths were a result of a bizarre religious ritual/practice that the family had been allegedly practising. The investigating agencies found notes which talked about how one can attain salvation and how the human body is temporary but the soul is permanent. “The human body is temporary and one can overcome fear by covering their eyes and mouth,” read one of the notes.
“We have found handwritten notes detailing how hands and legs are to be tied and are quite similar to the manner in which the bodies of 10 persons were found. They are exhaustive notes and we are studying them,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Alok Kumar told PTI.
The authorities are verifying whether the family had links with godmen or black magic practitioners. A News 18 report says that police have launched a manhunt for Baba Janegadi, a tantric in connection with the case.
Relatives deny the claims
The relatives have however rubbished the allegations of mass suicide. They have also denied the claims of the family being involved in mystical religious practices.
Someone killed them and all the reports on spiritual angle are bogus. This family was a happy and peace loving one who never believed in ‘babas’: Sujata, relative of the family who allegedly committed suicide in Delhi’s Burari yesterday. pic.twitter.com/sgQrZJgWSP
— ANI (@ANI) July 2, 2018
“They were not facing any financial issues and had not taken even a single loan. Everything was fine. Why would they kill themselves,” Ketan Nagpal, said one of their relatives, reports Economic Times. They added that the family was religious but weren’t linked to any godman.
Last month, they had celebrated Priyanka’s engagement, who was set to get married by the end of the month.