Recently, there was an outburst in the media about an incident that took place in North Delhi. I’m not 100% sure whether it was mass suicide or a planned conspiracy.
In Delhi’s Burari area, 11 members of the Bhatia family were found dead inside their house. During a search of the house by investigating agencies, certain handwritten notes were found which point towards some spiritual or mystical practices that might have been observed by the whole family. There was no damage done to any item in the house, and there were no signs of a robbery – all precious items including jewellery was present on their bodies.
A report in Times Now stated, “The press release by Delhi Police says that certain handwritten notes were found on the crime site. The notes point towards observance of some definite spiritual or mystical practices by the whole family. Not only this, the notes bear a strong similarity with the manner in which the eyes and the ears of the deceased were tied and taped.”
The notes which were found by the investigating team reflected that the family followed the instructions written on them. Before the incident, there was an order made for 20 chapatis which were delivered around 10:30 pm. It was perhaps part of the ritual.
The names of the deceased are as follows:
1. Narayan Devi, 77 (female)
2. Lalit, 42 (male)
3. Bhupti Bhatia, 46 (female)
4. Tina Bhatia (daughter in law), 38 (female)
5. Savita Bhatia (daughter in law), 42 (female)
6. Neetu Bhatia (granddaughter), 24 (female)
7. Meenu Bhatia (granddaughter), 22 (female)
8. Priyanka Bhatia (granddaughter), 30 (female)
9. Dhruv Bhatia (grandson), 12 (male)
10. Shivam Bhatia (grandson), 12 (male)
11. Pratibha Bhatia (daughter), 55 (female)
It is speculated that Lalit, the son of Narayan Devi was the mastermind behind this. He always wanted his late father to lead his family towards salvation. The steps which were reflected in the notes were followed as they were.“Everyone will help each other untie their hands,” said a note which was recovered. Reports say that the family members believed that they won’t die and they thought that God will save them.
According to a news report by IndiaTV, “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,” an officer privy to the probe said.”
1. There were no signs of struggle: During the investigation, the bodies were recovered and there was no sign of struggle or resistance. It appears that they helped each other hang to death. It also suggests that everyone was following the rituals.
NDTV has reported, “The police say the notes contain details of a “badh puja” ritual, which means “everybody should hang like the branches of a banyan tree”. Everybody should be on board, it was asserted in the jottings.”
2. The door was found open in the morning: At 7.30 am when someone went to fetch the Bhatias to open their shop, they were able to enter since the main door was already open. This could indicate two things: Either the family knew that they were going to kill themselves or that there was someone who left the house after the deaths.
“I can’t believe that they committed suicide. Everyone was so happy. Someone has killed my family and the police have to find them,” said Sujata Nagpal who lived in Panipat with the family.
3. The family was well-educated and religious: The Bhatia family was not known to be superstitious. The family was well-educated and most of them were well aware of people pretending to be spiritual babas. It seems that only Lalit was interested in salvation since he had asked his late father for the same.
Neighbours said that the family was religious and they never saw anything suspicious. The family would write religious ‘shlokas’ on a board outside their house every day. “They would chant ‘Gayatri Mantra’ and worship the gods once during morning and once in the evening. We never saw any ‘tantrik’ or godman visiting their house. They were helpful and humble,” one of the neighbours told PTI.
4. All the members were found hanging with a cloth wrapped around their faces: A report by UC News states, “The members were found hanging from a mesh in their ceiling in the hallway, all close together. Details in the notebooks match how they were found – faces wrapped almost entirely, ears plugged with cotton, mouths taped and hands tied behind the back. There were five stools, probably shared by the 10 members.”
5. There was allegedly no role of any Godman: The police have denied that there was any role of any Godman. But the notes in the diary and where they were taken from are still under investigation.
Featured image source: Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times via Getty Images