New Delhi: With no clear indication of what led to the death of the family of 11 members in Delhi's Burari, investigators are now focusing on notes found in the house that point towards the youngest son in the family and his hallucinations and delusions of an impending apocalypse.
On Sunday, 77-year-old Narayan Devi and ten others of her family including her children and grandchildren were found dead. She was on her bed while 10 others, including two 15-year-old boys, were hanging from a wire grid in the hallway of their home in north Delhi.
According to police, Narayan Devi's youngest son Lalit, masterminded the "mass suicide" and made notes "planning" the deaths on someone's "direction". The 45-year-old had taken a vow of silence a few years ago but had recently started talking again, about "visits" from his father, Gopal Das Bhatia, who died 10 years ago.
According to reports, the notes indicate that at some point the family had tried to organise a "meeting" with Lalit’s father.
"It appears that Lalit had been hallucinating that his father was giving instructions to the family through him," The Times of India quoted an officer who studied the diaries, as saying.
One of the notes by Lalit predicted doom and advised the family that they would be saved.
The entry read: "Antim samay mein, aakhri ichha ki purti ke waqt, aasman hilegi dharti kaanpigi, us waqt tum ghabrana mat, mantra ka jaap badha dena, mein aakar utar loonga aur ko bhi utarne mein madad karunga (in your last hours, while your last wish is fulfilled, the sky will open up and the earth will shake, don't panic but start chanting the mantra louder. I will come to save you and others)."
Lalit Bhatia allegedly told the family that he received this message from his father. The family was very superstitious and apparently believed that the end of the world was coming.
According to relatives and friends, Lalit Bhatia communicated mostly by scribbling notes because of his vow of silence, even with customers who came to his grocery shop.
Police said it was evident that the family was blindly following all these "directions". One of the last notings reads that that the mother would feed rotis to everyone (ma sabko roti khilayegi). This has been corroborated as the family ordered 20 rotis from a nearby shop for which it paid Rs 200. They didn't order any vegetables. The police have found the restaurant bill in the house. The food was delivered around 10.40pm.
The oldest entry in the registers found was made in August 2015 and the latest on June 30 this year. The family is believed to have performed the rituals on June 30, a day before the bodies were found.
"The earliest entries are about philosophical musings and religious beliefs. Every entry in the registers would begin with a 'shree'. There have been months when no entries were made," the investigating officer said.
He added that entries on rituals to please God to get the family's issues resolved began earlier this year. "There are notes on 'badh tapasya', in which people get into a banyan tree-formation whose branches hang around. The notes say that doing this would make God happy," the officer added.
The notes also ask the participants to "be cautious" when performing the rituals. They say that participants won't cook food at home and keep their phones on silent mode for six hours on the day they perform the rituals.
The notes also instruct that one person has to stand guard to ensure others have hanged themselves, the official said.
(With inputs from PTI)...