People of Delhi woke up to a shocking news on Sunday as 11 members of a family were found dead under mysterious circumstances at their residence in north Delhi’s Burari.
People of Delhi woke up to a shocking news on Sunday as 11 members of a family were found dead under mysterious circumstances at their residence in north Delhi’s Burari. The deceased were identified as Narayan Devi, who was found dead on the floor, her daughter Pratibha (57), her two sons Bhavnesh (50) and Lalit Bhatia (45). Bhavnesh’s wife Savita (48) and their three children – Meenu (23), Nidhi (25) and Dhruv (15). Lalit Bhatia’s wife Tina (42) and their 15-year-old son Shivam were also among those found dead. Pratibha’s daughter Priyanka (33), who was engaged last month and would have married by the end of this year, was also found hanging.
Bhavnesh ran a grocery store on the ground floor of the house. He used to open his shop around 6 am, the family’s neighbour Amrik Singh said. “Today, the shop was not opened till 7 am. The milk van had arrived outside the shop. A couple of neighbours had gathered because the van driver was continuously honking,” Amrik Singh’s father Gurcharan Singh, who claimed to be the first person to have seen the bodies, said.
As the day progressed, police started looking deeper into the these deaths and widened the probe to ascertain exact reason behind the horrific incident. The most pivotal twist came when the cops came across two notebooks which they recovered from the house. The notebooks were filled with detailed depictions on how to “end life in order to attain moksha (salvation)”. “It contains a step-by-step account of how to surrender life; how the human body is temporary, but the soul continues to live on; how to cope with fear and pain by covering the mouth and eyes with tape or cloth, and tying hands… The last entry on June 25 refers to one of the dead, Lalit, and how everyone must jump off the stools they would stand on at his signal,” police was quoted as saying by IE.
The police found handwritten notes which indicated a “religious or spiritual angle” to the deaths. A police officer said a probe will be conducted to find “if the family indulged in occult practices” or they followed “any godman”. “We have found handwritten notes detailing how hands and legs are to be tied and the manner in which the bodies of the 10 persons were found reflected what was written in the notes. They are exhaustive notes and we are studying them,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Alok Kumar said. Another officer said the notes were found in registers. “They talk about how a person can overcome fear by covering eyes and mouth, how a person can attain salvation, and how the human body is temporary but the soul continues to live on,” he said. “The notes talk about if a group of 11 people follows these rituals, all problems would ease out and they would attain salvation. Some notes have dates on which they were written while others don’t. All the notes talk about reaching the end and gaining peace,” one of the investigators said.
Police have registered a murder case under Section 302 (murder) of the IPC at Burari police station and did not rule out the mass suicide pact. “It is possible that the elderly woman was strangulated since she was not in a condition to climb a stool. We are probing whether the children were killed or were convinced to take the extreme step,” one of the officers privy to the probe said. Police said that while the hands of nine members of the family were tied, Lalit and Bhavnesh’s were not. “We are probing if the sons killed their mother and coerced the rest to take part in the mass suicide… before hanging themselves in a similar manner,”police had said.
In a late night development, the Crime Branch has been entrusted with the probe. “Our senior officers of Crime Branch unit also visited the crime scene, and we are probing the case from all angles,” Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik was quoted as saying by Indian Express. A board of doctors was set up to conduct the post-mortem examination. Till 11 pm, they had completed the autopsies on six bodies. Police was waiting for Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) team’s report and the autopsy report.
Relatives, however, ourightly rejected “religious angle” linked to the deaths claiming the deceased were “educated people and not superstitious”. “They believed in God but who believes in such things (referring to handwritten notes talking about salvation). They were educated people and not superstitious,” said one of the relatives.