11 of family members found dead together in Delhi

"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".

The family had been living in the house in Burari village in the northern part of the Indian capital for two decades, Hindustan Times newspaper reported. The deceased have been identified as Narayan Devi, who was found dead on the floor, her daughter Pratibha (57), her two sons Bhavnesh (50) and Lalit Bhatia (45). "We are probing whether the children were killed or were convinced to take the extreme step", said another officer.

This angle was being investigated and a case of murder registered, the statement said.

Ten bodies, blindfolded by cotton and pieces of cloth, were found hanging from an iron grill used as a ventilator in the home's courtyard, while the body of the 77-year-old woman was lying on the floor of the house.

According to the police, seven of them were women while four were males, including three minors. She had lived in the two-storey house with two sons, Bhavnesh (50) and Lalit (45), and one daughter, Pratibha (57), for almost 25 years, a local said.

Arjun Thukral, a relative of the family who lives in the same neighbourhood, said he ran to the victims' house as news of the deaths spread. Neighbours had not heard anything untoward, police said.

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News agencies quoted an unnamed police officer as saying a probe will be conducted to find "if the family indulged in occult practices" or they followed "any godman". "What I saw there left me shocked", said Gurcharan Singh, another neighbour.

Thukral questioned whether the family had died by suicide.

Police is now awaiting the post-mortem reports of the bodies, which would clear if one of the family members killed the rest and then committed suicide or was it a suicide pact. "These are murders", he said.

Police are investigating. Let's wait for their investigation to be over, ' said New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who visited the scene.

"We can't rule out anything", Police official Rajesh Khurana told reporters. The police investigation is but prima facie suicide due to certain "spiritual/mystical" practice seems to be the motive behind the deaths.

  • Sonia Alvarado