The grandson of a 75-year old woman who was among the 11 members of a family found dead at a house in North Delhi’s Burari locality on Sunday has alleged foul play, PTI reported on Monday. “They were not facing any financial issues and had not taken even a single loan,” Ketan Nagpal told the news agency. “Everything was fine. Why would they kill themselves?”
An autopsy confirmed that six of the 11 died due to hanging, ANI reported on Monday. There were also no signs of a struggle.
A murder case has been filed in connection with the death of the woman Narayan Devi, while the other deaths are also being treated as murders. The autopsy report will now help determine whether one of the family members killed the rest and committed suicide or if it was a suicide pact. “It is possible that the elderly woman was strangulated since she was not in a condition to climb the stool,” said an officer. “We are probing whether the children were killed or were convinced to take the extreme step.”
The police on Sunday said they suspect “spiritual or mystical practices by the family” were connected with their deaths. They are now looking into the family’s links with self-styled godmen and occult practitioners, reported NDTV.
The police have found handwritten notes that point to a “religious or spiritual angle”. “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,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Alok Kumar. “They are exhaustive notes and we are studying them.”
An unidentified police officer said the notes talk of salvation and the impermanence of the human body. “The notes say if a group of 11 people follows these rituals, all problems would ease out and they would attain salvation,” the officer told PTI. “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.”
However, a family member who had reportedly spoken with the family on Saturday night said they had sounded “normal”. He also alleged murder. “The family did not have enmity with anyone,” said the relative. “But we suspect someone killed them.” He claimed there was no “religious angle” to the deaths. “They believed in god but who believes in such things [mentioned purportedly in the handwritten notes]. They were educated people and not superstitious.”