The residents of North Delhi's Burari area woke up to some shocking news on Sunday, July 1, as 11 members of a family were found blindfolded, gagged and hanging in the courtyard of their home, in what looked like a case of mass suicide. However, the police investigating the matter have now found weird details about the family and believe that this could be a case of some religious or mystical practices gone wrong.
The house bore no signs of ransacking or theft and even the jewellery on the women was untouched, due to which the investigators remained clueless for hours. However, the police later found handwritten notes in the house that spoke about attaining salvation.
Speaking of the incident, joint commissioner of police (crime) Alok Kumar told the Press Trust of India: "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."
The note is said to be very detailed and even explains how the human body is temporary and that any kind of fear can be overcome if one's eyes and mouth are covered.
"The notes say 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 didn't have it. All the notes talk about reaching the end and gaining peace," another official added.
While 10 family members were found hanging, the body of an elderly woman was found on the ground. The officials believe that she could have been strangulated as she was quite old to climb up on the stool. We are probing whether the children were killed or were convinced to take the extreme step," a police official added.
The Delhi family seems to have really believed in the ritual and a note recovered clearly states that the step would not lead to death as God would come and save them.
In addition, the investigators also said that the family seemed to have performed a havan (a ritual, in which offerings such as ghee and grains, and put in the fire) in another room, before hanging themselves, reported Hindustan Times.
The note also said that the ritual could be performed Tuesdays, Saturdays or Sundays. "The family chose the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday as they wanted to avoid error or confusion. Since the ritual was lengthy, they probably performed it during the night to avoid any interference," the officer said.
It is evident that the Burari family followed the note in great detail. The note said that the widows of the family were to hang separately and in tune, a widowed daughter of the family was found hanging from a window grille, that was away from the place where the rest of the members were found hanging.
The officials have also said that the family could have been planning this for a while now.
Family was religious and helpful, recall neighbours
Meanwhile, shocked neighbours have said that the family was indeed very religious but they never seemed the kind to go to such an extent. "Every member of the family prayed thrice every day," HT quoted Praveen Mittal, a close family friend, as saying.
Neighbours also said that though spiritual, the family never invited any godman or tantrik home.
"They would chant 'Gayatri Mantra' and worship the gods once during the morning and once in the evening. We never saw any 'tantrik' or godman visiting their house. They were helpful and humble," a neighbour explained.
Family dog found chained with fever
While the family is no more, their dog was found chained and burning with 108-degree fever. The dog, an Indian pitbull mix breed aged 6-7 years, was found extremely aggressive and animal rescuers are said to have taken over an hour to calm him down.
Apart from fever, the dog had an infection on his skin. We brought him to the animal shelter and gave him an ice pack to cool down the fever. We then also provided medication and somehow lowered the body temperature of dog to 101 degrees. He has also been provided food," Sanjay Mahapatra, who runs an animal shelter in Noida, told HT.
Grandson hints at foul play
Amid all this, Ketan Nagpal, the grandson of one of the deceased, said that this could be a murder case as the family members had no reason to kill themselves. "They were not facing any financial issues and had not taken even a single loan. Everything was fine. Why would they kill themselves?" Nagpal said.
He also explained that the family may have been religious but weren't superstitious and wouldn't believe in such rituals.