Hours after 11 members of a family were found dead at their residence in north Delhi’s Burari, the Delhi Police Crime Branch recovered two notebooks, with detailed notes on how to “end life in order to attain moksha (salvation)”. Police said the matriarch of the family Narayani Devi (75) was found on the floor in another room; her sons Bhavnesh (50) and Lalit (45); their wives Savita (48) and Teena (42); and their children Nidhi (25), Maneka (23), Dhruv (15) and Shivam (15) were found hanging from the railing of the enclosure.
Devi’s daughter Pratibha (57), a widow, was found hanging from a window, while Pratibha’s daughter Priyanka (33) was found in the same room as the rest, said police. Police said that while the hands of nine members of the family were tied, Lalit and Bhavnesh’s were not. “We are probing if the sons killed their mother and coerced the rest to take part in the mass suicide… before hanging themselves in a similar manner,” said a police source.
Police said the notebooks were found next to a tiny temple built inside a room in the house. As per sources, all entries talk about how their problems would be taken care of and that they would attain salvation if they followed these rituals. Sources told The Indian Express that one of the notebooks has entries starting from November 2017. “It contains a step-by-step account of how to surrender life; how the human body is temporary, but the soul continues to live on; how to cope with fear and pain by covering the mouth and eyes with tape or cloth, and tying hands… The last entry on June 25 refers to one of the dead, Lalit, and how everyone must jump off the stools they would stand on at his signal,” a police source claimed.
Police said the manner in which the victims were found gagged and bound is similar to what is described in the notes. Sources said five plastic stools were also found at the spot. “The stool is big enough that more than one person could have used it at the same time,” said a police source.
Sources added that one of the entries talks about keeping “cotton inside the ear to avoid distractions, and that mobiles should be kept aside”. Police have found cotton in the ears of the dead, and the phones in a corner. Sources also said that the family did not cook on Saturday night, and ordered food instead. Eyewitnesses told police that “Lalit was last spotted walking his dog at 11.30 pm on Saturday”. A senior police officer of the Crime Branch said they are trying to ascertain if the family indulged in occult practices or if they were followers of a godman.
Dismissing the claims, Narayani Devi’s grandson Ketan Nagpal alleged that the family was murdered and that someone was trying to mislead police. “We have not been informed about the notebooks. Who follows such things in this age? They were killed and police have to find the accused,” he alleged.