What appeared to be a general case of mass suicide in North Delhi's Burari area has now turned out to be a matter of confusion, mysteries and mystical practices. On Sunday, July 1, 11 members of a family were found blindfolded, gagged and hanging in the courtyard of their home and police officials investigating the matter have found weird details about the family since.
It is now believed 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.
The deceased have been identified Narayan Devi, her daughter Pratibha, 57, sons Bhavnesh, 50, and Lalit Bhatia, 45, and their families. Bhavnesh's wife Savita, and the couple's three children Meenu, Neetu, and Dhruv. Lalit Bhatia's wife Tina, and their 15-year-old son Shivam were also found hanging
Religious ritual gone wrong?
The police had come across two registers in the house with handwritten notes on how to carry out the whole process. "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 the Press Trust of India.
And now investigators believe that the family could have been replicating the "badh tapasya." The officials said that the notes clearly speak of "salvation," "badh tapasya," and "shunya," which would take away all the troubles of the family.
"The notes state that if one follows a set of rituals, their problems would be solved and God would be happy. It seems that the rituals went awry. The notes mention how after climbing the stool and covering one's face and taping the mouth, and wrapping a chunni around one's neck, one has to climb down and help others," the Times of India quoted an officer as saying.
The handwritten notes are also being studied and the investigators are trying to find out whose handwriting it was and where was all the information being gathered from.
Findings of little help
Since the investigation began on July 1, the officials have come across several aspects in the case, but they are only adding to the mystery. On Monday, July 2, the officials found 11 bizarre pipes protruding out of a wall of the Delhi house. The pipes are reportedly placed in exactly the same way that the bodies were found hanging, almost symbolising each one of them.
The register also mentioned that on the day the family was set to take this step, no food must be cooked and their phones must be kept on silent mode for six hours. In tune, the family had ordered from a restaurant on the day.
"According to CCTV footage, a delivery man came to the house to deliver food at 10:40 pm. No one came inside or went outside the house, before the local man who found the bodies in the morning," the crime branch sources told TOI.
The police have said that they will also look through the call details of the family members and go through their internet search history.
Occultist and accomplice detained
While neighbours had earlier told officials that the Bhatia family was extremely religious but never invited any godman or tantrik home, investigations have suggested otherwise. An occultist and his accomplice were detained on July 2, and the police are now interrogating the duo.
Lalit Bhatia hallucinating about his father?
Meanwhile, it is being said that Lalit Bhatia, one of the deceased, could have been hallucinating about his late father and believed that his father would come save the family at the last moment. Gopal Das Bhatia, an ex-armyman, died 10 years ago and the handwritten notes suggest that Lalit believed his father was directing the family on the ritual.
The police have also said that the family seemed to have tried to arrange "a meeting" with Gopal.
"Antim samay mein..akhri ichha ki purti ke waqt, asmaan hilega...dharti kaapegi...uss waqt mantro ka jaap badha dena..main aakr, tumko aur auro ko utaar lunga (In the end time, when it is time to fulfill the last wish, the skies will shake, the earth will tremble, increase the frequency of mantra, I will come and save you and the others)," a note read.
"Lalit ki chinta mat karo tumlog.. main jab aata hun to ye thoda pareshan ho jata hai...(don't worry about Lalit.. He gets a little hassled when I come)," another added.