Death of 11 family members in India may be ritual mass suicide, police say

NEW DELHI — Police are investigating the mysterious deaths of 11 members of a deeply religious New Delhi family, 10 of whom were found bound and hanging in their home with handwritten notes detailing a mystical suicide ritual.

An 11th family member, a 77-year-old woman, was found dead in an adjacent room. The bodies were discovered Sunday.
Senior police official Alok Kumar, commenting on the deaths of four male and seven female members of the Bhatia family, said Tuesday that “on the face of it,” the grisly scene “looks like a case of suicide.” Post-mortem reports and testimonies of relatives and neighbors are being analyzed, and police probes have not ruled out murder as a cause of the deaths.

Kumar said notes found at the Hindu family’s residence had details about how the mouths and eyes of the family should be taped and where each of the family members should be positioned for the ritual. “They have been maintaining a diary for the last two to three years, and in it, we found quite a graphic description, which matched the condition of the bodies at the scene of the crime.”