The Burari deaths relate to the deaths of 11 members of the Chundawat family who used to live in Burari, Delhi, India. Ten people were discovered hanging, while the grandmother, the family’s senior member, was strangled. The bodies were discovered on 1 July 2018; shortly after the death. The authorities claimed that the Burari deaths were the result of a mass suicide driven by a common delusion.
Background of the Burari Family
The Chundawat family (affectionately referred to as the Bhatia family by neighbors) had lived in the double-story house in Burari’s Sant Nagar neighborhood for approximately twenty years, having relocated from their native town of Tohana, Haryana. In the neighborhood, the family had a grocery store and a plywood business. The family consisted of 11 members, ranging from super senior to teenagers.
Loss of a family member in 2007
In 2007, the family was confronted with the death of their elder family member, Mr. Bhopal Singh, the husband of Narayani Devi who was 80 years old at the time of her death. The death of her husband and the father of Pratibha Bhatia (57), the widowed daughter of Narayani Devi, Bhuvnesh (50), the elder son of Narayani Devi, and Lalit (45), the younger son of Narayani Devi, changed the dynamics of the entire family.
However, Lalit was quite a challenged guy since he faced many hardships in his life, and in an incident in 2004, he almost lost his voice.
Following his father’s death, Lalit became socially awkward and informed his family that he had been possessed by his father’s soul. He has been keeping a notebook on his father’s “instructions” since 2007. It is believed that the younger son of Narayani Devi was visited by the spirit of his dead father who led the entire family to embark on the journey of salvation.
A close family friend asserted that the family was going through an extreme emotional trauma after the death of their beloved Bhopal Singh, whom they called “Daddy” out of affection. A priest was asked for Garuda Purana Paath (a prayer) for 10 days following the death.
“One of those 10 days, we were all sitting and listening to the prayers when Lalit suddenly started chanting Om. His voice came back and everybody said ‘Daddy aa gaye’ [Daddy has returned],”Revealed by a neighbor
One day, a neighbor asked Lalit how did he get his voice back to which he replied that he was asked by his father in a dream to perform a ritual in order to retain his voice. After the death of Bhopal Singh, the family begins to indulge in (Kirtans) prayers every day.
“Every night around 9 p.m., they would sit together and pray for 15-30 minutes. The kids used to tell me ‘Daddy ke aane ka time ho gaya’ [it is time for grandfather to come].”A neighbor revealed
The Burari Death Case: Mass suicide by the Eleven family members
On the fateful Sunday morning of July 1, 2018, at 7:15 a.m., the remains of 11 members of the family were discovered at their residence in Burari’s Sant Nagar neighborhood, 10 of them hanging from an iron mesh in the ceiling of a room and the eldest most member of the family, Narayani Devi was strangled to death.
“In my career of 17 years so far, I have never seen a crime scene like this and I hope I do not ever have to. It was shocking. I stayed only for 10-15 seconds before rushing downstairs to call my seniors. At the time I did not see whose hands were tied and whose eyes were covered. I just saw a lot of bodies hanging, just like branches of a tree”Rajeev Tomar, Head Constable in Delhi Police
Ten of the eleven victims of the Burari deaths were discovered hanging – two males, six women, and two adolescents. They wore blindfolds and had their lips taped shut. Some of the bodies were also bound at the wrists and ankles. Their faces were almost fully enveloped in cotton, their ears were stuffed with cotton, their mouths were taped shut, and their hands were bound behind their backs.
There were five stools, which were almost certainly shared by the ten members. Their faces were concealed by pieces of cloth cut from a single bedsheet. Narayani Devi, 80, was discovered dead in another room.
Tommy, the family’s pet dog, was chained to the terrace. He was discovered with a high fever eventually succumbed to cardiac arrest the following evening. and It was unknown who had bound him.
The fatalities, which were initially assumed to be murder due to the tied limbs, blindfolds, and gagged mouths, perplexed detectives when they discovered 11 journals scrawled with notes outlining the circumstances.
Mysterious Diary Entries by Lalit, the Youngest Son of Narayani Devi
The authorities suspected that it was a case of a ritual gone bad, leading to a “mass suicide” based on the diary entries. The diaries were allegedly dictated by Lalit, who believed his late father’s “ghost” was speaking with him and telling him to practice “Badh Tapasya” (banyan tree worship) for the family’s sake.
The most challenging question is how did the family members, aged 15 to 25, accept a noose around their necks and assume they would survive? There were more entries that revealed that Lalit and his family were looking for salvation and performing better things for the well-being of the family.
While making the entries, Lalit used to speak and act like his dead father as if he had been possessed at the moment. Also, it was revealed in the diary that the spirit of his father would not visit Lalit in the presence of an outsider. The first entry was made in 2007, in which the members were asked to remember Bhopal Singh in their prayers and to always keep close a black and white photo of him.
“Mann mein dhyan yahi rakho ki Daddy meri purani aadatein chhut jaye”said the September note.
Additionally, the notes indicated “other souls accompanying Lalit’s father’s spirit,” who died in 2007, and “how those spirits are still striving for salvation.” In an entry of November 2015, Lalit wrote:
“Four souls are still wandering with me. If you improve yourself, these souls will be freed. You feel that by completing all the rituals in Haridwar, the souls achieve salvation. I am accompanied by the souls of others also.”
In an entry of November 11, 2017, Lalit mentioned committing some sort of a mistake and due to which the family will fail to attain something. However, what was to be achieved is unknown.
“Dhanteras has already been celebrated. You are far from achieving something due to someone’s mistakes. There is a possibility that you might not see the next Diwali. Don’t ignore the warnings. (Dhanteras aakar chali gayi. Kisi ki purani galti ke aabhaav se kuch prapti se door ho. Agli Diwali na mana sako. Chetavni ko nazar andaaz karne ke bajai gaur kiya karo).”Lalit in his diary entry.
Before the mass suicide, the entire event was recorded in the diary and what process was supposed to be followed was also descriptively mentioned.
“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. They are exhaustive notes and we are studying them.” Details/directions provided in the diaries match how the bodies were found with their faces covered, mouths taped, and cotton balls in ears. The diary also mentions: “everyone will tie their own hands and when the kriya (ritual) is done then everyone will help each other untie their hands”, indicating that the family was not expecting to die.”Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police
The journals are loaded with severe, almost scolding directions for all family members to follow concerned with Burari Deaths. They dictated the members’ daily routines, including their eating habits and other mundane chores, for the family’s financial and general well-being. The notes appear to have had a significant impact on how all family members lived their lives.
Opinions of the neighbors about the family members
The family was well-liked in the neighborhood and was believed to be super helpful, jovial, and happy going by nature. Lalit is believed to be very close to his parents, and his parents were loved by the entire neighborhood because of their giving nature. The family received a lot of praise when the neighbors were being interrogated while the investigation was conducted.
What Really Happened With The Chundawat Family Of The Burari Death Case?
Psychologists have speculated that these deaths are the result of the shared delusory disorder,’ a condition in which members of a group blindly believe one another and mindlessly follow instructions. Psychologists disagree about whether Lalit had a ‘delusional disease.’
Was it a case of a very well-framed murder, psychological illness or was the family really being visited by the spirit of their dead family member? Well, whatever be the case, the death of 11 members of the same family in a similar manner is frightening itself. The case is the subject of a three-part true-crime docuseries titled House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths. Comment your views below.
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