Daughter says it was murder, police suspect occult practice in Delhi suicides.
New Delhi: One of the daughters of the family, whose 11 members were found dead in north Delhi’s Burari on Sunday, today said it was cold-blooded murder. She also categorically refuted claims they observed spiritual or mystical practices and may have died during the course of a “religious ritual that went wrong”.
“Someone killed them and all the reports on the spiritual angle are bogus. This family was a happy and peace-loving one who never believed in ‘babas’,” Sujata, the daughter Narayan Devi said.
Ten of her family members were found hanging from an iron grill blindfolded, gagged and hands tied behind; her mother was discovered dead on the floor in another room.
But investigators say that the handwritten notes recovered from inside the house hint towards a “suicide pact” related to occult practice.
Handwritten notes indicate that the family believed God would save them the moment they hanged themselves, say police
They seemed to have believed that God will miraculously appear and save them the moment they hanged themselves. “Almost every step mentioned in the notes seem to be have been religiously followed by the family,” said a police officer.
“The moment they hanged themselves and began gasping for breath, they would see God saving them,” said the officer, paraphrasing the note.
However, the police have registered a murder case because there were “ligature” marks around the neck of Narayan Devi, prompting investigators to suspect that she was strangled. They said they were probing multiple theories to figure what led to the deaths.
The post-mortem has confirmed death because of hanging for six of the 11 members. The “ligature hanging” was the reason behind the deaths and that no signs of struggle were found.
The post-mortem of the remaining five bodies is expected to be completed on Monday.
A neighbour close to the family said “Every member of the family prayed thrice every day.” An accident and a subsequent “miracle” turned the Bhatia family deeply religious.
Around 10 years ago, Lalit Bhatia, 45, had an “accident”. According to Hemant Sharma, a family friend, the accident had occurred when a plank of wood had fallen on Lalit, who ran a plywood business.
“As a result, Lalit lost his speaking ability. The family tried all possible medications, but when that did not work, they began praying. When Lalit was cured of the problem, his family attributed it to their prayers. It made the family very spiritual,” said Sharma.
The dead have been identified as Narayan Devi (77), her two sons Bhavnesh (50) and Lalit (45), her daughters-in-law Savita (48) and Teena (42), her daughter Pratibha (57), her grandchildren Priyanka (33), Nitu (25), Monu (23), Dhruv (15) and Shivam (15).