Buraris believed departed soul would come and save them.
New Delhi: In a breakthrough, the Delhi Police Crime Branch found that the Burari family had been performing some strange ritual for six days before they allegedly committed suicide.
The Delhi Police has recovered more handwritten notes, suggesting that the Burari family — 11 members of which were found dead at their home — may have dabbled in occult practises since 2007.
Police suspect that Lalit Bhatia (45), who led the ritual, believed his dead father’s soul would enter his body. He may have been suffering from “dissociative disorder or split-personality”, say the police.
Locals said the family had casually mentioned that Lalit Bhatia would see his father in his dreams and had been “possessed” by his father’s soul. “Lalit would often speak in his dead father’s voice and tone and would claim that he could see his father.”
A police officer said, “The diary was maintained by one of the girls, either Priyanka or Maneka… there are two handwritings, and it is believed that whenever Lalit thought his father’s soul had entered his body, he would speak in his voice and dictate what to write”.
The entry on June 30 mentions: “The earth will shake but don’t be scared… I will come and save you.” The police source said, “Family members may have been under the impression that on the seventh day, Devi’s husband Bhopal Singh, who died in 2008, will appear.”
The family prayed thrice a day but “detested spiritual gurus or self-styled godmen”.
The diaries recovered from the house reveal that the family worshipped the banyan tree, and had “practised” trying to hang themselves in the preceding days — without their hands tied.
The last entry in the diary is dated June 30, and their bodies were discovered by neighbours on the morning of July 1. The entry mentions that “hands should be tied as a soul will come and save us” and that “when the colour of the water kept in a bowl changes, I will come”.
Last month, there was a gap in entries between June 16 and June 24. A police source said “it’s possibly due to Priyanka’s engagement on June 17, when relatives had come over… the diary mentions that do not do the rituals if outsiders are at home, and do not tell anyone about the private entries in the diaries”.
The entries got more detailed on June 24, wherein there is a mention of constant worshipping of the banyan tree — which some believe is linked to longevity. “One entry says that family members have to use a wire or chunni and hang it to the iron ‘jaal’ like branches of the banyan tree. Five stools will be used, and one member will tie the knots from the ‘jaal’, as well as the hands of every person, to make it look like they’re praying,” said the police source.
Police said when the patriarch of the family died, “The entire family was devastated by the death, but his youngest son Lalit Bhatia was the most affected.”
But the recovered notes have not helped the police solve the mystery about the 11 “haphazardly placed” plastic pipes protruding out of the three-storey house. The mystery over the pipes deepened when the police realised that seven of the 11 pipes were bent downwards while the rest were straight. “It could be a coincidence, but we are puzzled as the dead included seven females and four males,” the investigator said.
The police also had a theory to explain why the main gate of the house was left open by its occupants. “We are working on two theories. Either the family believed that a superpower would enter through the gate and save them the moment they hanged (themselves), or a 12th person was present in the house,” said the officer cited above.
Psychologists say the family could be suffering from ‘shared psychotic disorder’ in which all the members in a group do the bidding of their leader as they trust them unconditionally and believe they would be led out of the worldly problems.
On Sunday morning, the bodies of Narayani Devi (77), her sons Bhuvanesh (50) and Lalit (45), daughters-in-law Savita (48) and Teena (42), daughter Pratibha (57), and grandchildren Priyanka (33), Nidhi (25), Maneka (23), Dhruv (15) and Shivam (15) were found gagged, blindfolded and hanging in the hallway.