Mass suicide in Delhi: 11 of family found dead in home

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A joint family of eleven was found dead, 10 of them hanging in their home in Sant Nagar, north Delhi
A joint family of eleven was found dead, 10 of them hanging in their home in Sant Nagar, north Delhi

New Delhi : In shocking news, a mass suicide case has been reported from the capital city of India. A joint family of eleven was found dead, 10 of them hanging in their home in Sant Nagar, north Delhi, appears to be a mass suicide committed on Sunday morning. The reason behind this bizarre incident might be some religious motivations.

The eldest family member, Narayani Bhatia, 77, was found strangled in another room. The rest, including two 15-year-old boys, allegedly used chunnis (scarves) with religious pattern and cables to hang them. They were gagged and blindfolded, with hands tied. Cotton buds were found stuffed in their ears.

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Cops found a diary found in the house which detailed instructions for "mass salvation", including how hangings should be conducted. The Bhatias, who ran a shop in the area, seemed to have followed the instructions, some of which may have been written months ago. They conducted a "havan" hours before the suicides.

The only one alive in the house was the family dog, Jacky, who had been sent to the terrace. An FIR under section 302 (murder) has been registered. Police chief Amulya Patnaik told TOI that all angles were being probed by the crime branch.

Police mentioned that extreme religious practices appeared to be the trigger for act. Joint commissioner (Crime) Alok Kumar confirmed that the police had recovered certain hand written notes during the search of the house which indicated that the entire family was following “some definite spiritual/mystical practices”.

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The Bhatias lived on the first floor of house number 137/5/2 in lane number 2 of Sant Nagar. Narayani had two sons, Bhavnesh (50) and Lalit (45), who lived in the house with their respective wives, Savita (48) and Teena (42). Bhavnesh had three children Nitu (25), Monu (23) and Dhruv (15), while Lalit had a 15-year-old son, Shivam. Narayani’s elder daughter, Pratibha (57) also lived in the house with her daughter, Priyanka (33), after her husband died a few years ago. All of them were found dead.

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The deaths came into notice at 7.15am, when a neighbour, Gurcharan Singh, visited the house and informed the police after seeing the horror.

“The Bhatia brothers had recently started a dairy business from their general store and used to open their shop at 5.30am. Today, however, my wife noticed that the shop hadn’t opened till 7am and many customers had lined up outside. I went in to check and found the main door unlocked. The entire family was hanging in the hallway,” said Singh, a retired train locomotive driver, said. 

“Local police reached the spot, in front of Guru Gobind Singh Hospital, and found 11 people dead,” said additional DCP Vineet Kumar.

The wife of one of the Bhatia brothers, Teena, is originally from Dhar in MP. Her family has demanded a CBI probe into what it said was a “mass murder”. Teena’s brother said he had spoken to her a few days back and found she was fine. The district crime team and forensic lab of Rohini as well as the mobile forensic team reached the spot and lifted exhibits.

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The house had not been ransacked and no valuable item, including mobiles, found disturbed or missing. Gold jewellery on the bodies of the women was intact and the crime scene didn’t indicate any signs of struggle, cops said. The bodies were shifted to the Sabzi Mandi mortuary in the afternoon and a medical team started performing autopsies on Sunday evening.