India: Family Found Dead After Hanging Themselves

New Delhi: Family of 11 found dead after hanging themselves in some kind of religious ritual. They were apparently conducting, as authorities said, a ritual which they hoped to “obtain salvation.” As Hindustan Times reports ten people were found hanging — blindfolded, gagged and hands tied — on the first floor of the house whereas the dead body of an old lady was found in an adjacent room in the house in Sant Nagar. The deceased were identified as Narayan Devi (77), her two sons Bhavnesh (50)and Lalit (45), her daughters-in-law Savita (48) and Teena (42), her daughter Pratibha (57), her grandchildren Priyanka (33), Nitu (25), Monu (23), Dhruv (15) and Shivam (15).

On Sunday morning, when police started their probe in the case, they suspected it to be a suicide pact. However, investigators remained clueless for over two hours about the motive until they chanced upon a detailed one-page hand-written note in the prayer area of the family’s house. Soon, police also recovered two notebooks; the pages of which discussed spirituality, salvation, the ritual and it also mentioned a few dates.

The recoveries of the notes, the signs of a ‘hawan’ (a ritual involving burning of offerings such as ghee and grains) in the house and the manner in which the bodies were found have given police enough reasons to suspect that the family might have died in a religious ritual gone wrong.

“Almost every step mentioned in the note seems to have been religiously followed by the family,” said a police officer.

The steps for “obtaining salvation” were written point wise in Hindi, each marked with an arrow. One important rule was that the family was to avoid using mobile phones and not disclose the rituals to anyone else. It took the police a few hours to recover their mobile phones from the house. Police refused to disclose from where they recovered the phones from inside the house.

According to the note, the ritual could only have been performed on Tuesdays, Saturdays or Sundays. “The family chose the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday as they wanted to avoid error or confusion. Since the ritual was lengthy, they probably performed it during the night to avoid any interference,” the officer said.

Neighbors confirmed that the family was religious. “Every member of the family prayed thrice every day,” said Praveen Mittal, a close friend of the family. The problem is that they were obviously very naïve believing that God will save them. All the notes found in the house were written by one person. Police will send the notes for forensic examination to identify the author and to ensure they were not placed to mislead the investigators.

Photo Credits: MCN News

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