The terrible Burari deaths case occurred in 2018, when 11 family members in Burari, Delhi, committed suicide. Many claims that it is an instance of mass suicide. Although there isn’t much information on the case, most of it is unreliable or irrational, as broadcast media has frequently shown.
Leena Yadav’s Netflix documentary, “House of Secrets: the Burari Deaths,” helped unveil a family with a complex internal narrative.
They were settled and concentrated on a better future. Although many people who observed the family from the outside believed they had found solace in spirituality, they needed help to explain what took place inside the Burari home’s four walls.
This article aims to help the reader comprehend the story behind the closed doors of the 11-member family by highlighting the widely publicized case from many perspectives and information that was accessible.
Mysterious Deaths Of The Burari Family
When the Bhatia family (originally Chundawat), who owned a grocery store, didn’t open it in the morning on July 1 (when it typically opened at 5:30 am), didn’t collect milk from the daily milkman, and didn’t respond to their calls, the neighbors went to check on them.
They discovered the main door open because it wasn’t locked from the inside. They were astonished to see nine family members arranged in a circle hanging from an iron grill on the roof as they went upstairs.
Their mother was dead on the floor next to her bed, and the tenth member, a woman, was hanging directly across from them. The family members had hanged themselves while being shackled, with their hands and feet also bound. The only member of the family who was still alive was a dog chained to the roof.
The same home housed three generations at once. The group’s members were all well-educated and sociable individuals. In the home in Burari, Delhi, 11 people were living in the household. The matriarch of the family, Narayani Devi, was a widow and the mother of three boys and two daughters, two of whom used to live in the house with her.
Lalit was the youngest son, whereas Bhuvnesh was the older. They both had spouses named Savita and Tina, respectively. Shivam was the only boy Lalit and Tina had; Bhuvnesh and Savita had two daughters and one son (Maneka, Neetu, and Dhruv). Pratibha, a daughter of Narayani Devi, gave birth to her lone daughter, Priyanka.
The family owned a general store, while Lalit, the eldest son, ran a plywood company. According to neighbors, the family was doing okay in both enterprises. Neighbors, family members, and linked coworkers who identified as religious reported that the 11-member family consisted of polite, giving, and harmonic people who never argued with one other or those nearby.
The family’s children were bright, academically successful, and respectable, and the other members were always quick to lend a hand to friends and family when they were in need. When asked about the neighbors’ perceptions of her family, Sujata Nagpal, the eldest brother and survivor, and Sujata concurred.
Nobody accepted the 11 people trying to commit mass suicide. This was primarily due to the family’s lavish celebration of one of their daughters, Priyanka, getting engaged, which occurred exactly 14 days before the incident was under discussion.
Delhi Police Investigate The Burari Deaths
The family’s former neighbor and head constable at Burari Police Station (2017–2020), Rajeev Tomar, was the first to learn about the tragic tragedy and initially considered suicide. When Tomar saw the events described above, he thought the mass suicide formation looked like a banyan tree.
Manoj Kumar, Station House Officer (SHO), Burari Police Station (2016-2019), claimed to have never seen such an incident in his whole career when he and his colleagues arrived at the crime scene.
Police officers were baffled by more questions than answers after observing a lack of circumstantial evidence supporting the alleged mass murder, no indication of a break-in because the women were wearing all of their jewelry, and all evidence pointed to a mass suicide.
The news of the tragedy spread like wildfire since the family-run grocery shop is frequently busy in the morning, which presented an additional hurdle for the investigators. Reporters from the media and curious onlookers from the neighborhood and surrounding area had arrived to catch sight of the strange event. Some of who had arrived before the police managed to give us a horrifying glimpse at the gruesome sight inside. You can access the NSFW video here.
Controlling the crowd and protecting the crime scene were of utmost significance, and the Delhi Police did so.
The spine-tingling occurrence was reported to Forensic Science Laboratory, Delhi (FSL), who thereafter showed up with their knowledgeable team. Both FSL and the police investigators believed it was essential to determine why the incident occurred.
The footage from a CCTV camera installed in one of the house’s walls and front-facing the lane was examined by the police during the investigation period from the previous night till the time of the occurrence. This was done to ensure no outside involvement in the occurrence and to rule out the prospect of an outsider’s entry.
The police first filed a murder case in response to the surviving family members’ assertion, even though they disagreed with the former. The incident and the evidence collected were described in full in the First Investigation Report that the police authorities filed.
Before being sent to the mortuary, the 11 members’ remains were appropriately concealed. According to the post-mortem reports, the members’ deaths were exclusively caused by hanging. Narayani Devi, the family’s matriarch, had passed away from strangulation.
The deceased members’ big intestines contained fecal matter (digested, solid waste), indicating that nobody was stressed. The case was then given to Dr. Joy N. Tirkey and his colleagues, the Crime Branch’s Deputy Commissioner of Police in Delhi.
The Criminal Justice Division’s Investigation
After the crime branch examined every minute detail of the residence where the incident had occurred, they came to the following conclusions:
- Although there was obvious evidence of effort in his fingers, the older son, Bhuvnesh, had attempted to free his hands.
- Telephone cables were cruelly used to bind the youngsters of the house by both their hands and feet. None of them showed any symptoms of resistance. Their ears were packed with cotton, and their eyes and lips were tapped.
- Narayani Devi, the family’s matriarch, was discovered dead in the other room beside her bed with a partially turned body. She had some marks on the side of her neck from the belt around her neck.
- Each family member wore a scarf around their neck that they could hang themselves with.
- Also, there was proof of a ceremony carried out the previous evening. There was still a sacred pyre there. It was evident from the ashes scattered around the pyre that the same one had been used the day before the event.
According to the CCTV footage, Lalit’s wife Tina and her son Shivam were spotted buying four chairs on June 28, 2018. Moreover, Neetu and Tina were observed carrying some recently purchased tools on June 30, 2018, at 9:40 p.m.
Lalit’s son Shivam opened their plywood shop at 10:29 p.m. while lugging a small bundle of wires upstairs.
The family’s youngest son, Lalit, had charged everyone’s phones the day before the event, and a packet of milk was stored in the refrigerator for use the next day. Black gram that had been soaked was found in the kitchen, most likely for the meal the next day.
Inside the house, next to the pyre, a register was discovered. 11 diaries were found after a thorough investigation; the first entry was from 2007, and the latest was from the night before the tragedy (2018).
The Strange Diary Entries of the Burari Family
The criminal division had stated that the diaries’ language was conversational, authoritative, and instructive. The directions for the family to follow were listed on the diary’s final page, and this sequence of events ultimately led to the gruesome catastrophe.
Bhopal Singh was first mentioned in Lalit’s diary on September 7, 2007, when the family was asked to commemorate him by keeping his b&w portrait in front of them. “Pray that you get rid of your old habits,” was the message from September 2007.
The most recent item in the diary from June 24, 2018, described a ritual called the “Banyan Tree Ritual” that would last seven days in addition to the puja known as Badh Puja.
“The roots of the ancient badh tree hang from its branches.” The diary included information about the incident’s timing (supposedly at 1 am in the morning).
About the Badh Puja, it was mandated that it be performed religiously for a period of seven days and that if somebody visited the family, the puja would then be performed the next day.
According to a directive, nothing relevant to the puja had to be evident to any visitors from the outside who entered the premises.
- While performing the puja, employ dim lighting and close your eyes completely.
- The lips should be muzzled with a handkerchief, the eyes should be firmly fastened with the blindfold, and the mind should be clear and focused. Narayani Devi, the oldest participant, and the fragile member, was instructed to finish the rite only while lying down.
3) The participant was instructed to visualize the tree’s branches encircling their body throughout the puja. Hence, the ritual must be carried out with cohesion and resolve, aiding in atonement for errors.
- The diaries included every small and critical detail that the family followed to live their life. Also, there were hints in the journals that the family engaged in occult and witchcraft activities. The 11 members appeared to be under the direction of a mysterious force or third party.
- The criminal branch sought to get in touch with a relative of the family who had a religious or spiritual background. Still, they were unsuccessful because no one with that connection was available.
Expert Testimony And Statements
Bhopal Singh, the late Narayani Devi’s spouse who presided over the Bhatia family, passed away in 2007. After his death, the family was left without a figure because no one could be in charge or serve as an authoritative figure to govern its ups and downs.
Anita Anand, a clinical hypnotherapist, asserted that when the patriarch of an average Indian family passes away, there is a void in the family. In this situation, it was possible to observe an incidence of a slightly similar nature.
Until his passing, Bhopal Singh was responsible for the family’s planning, children’s schooling, etc. After Bhopal Singh’s passing, his youngest son, Lalit, took over the duties he had previously handled quickly. Lalit’s friends and family members claimed that other family members followed him and saw his words as final because of his maturity and ability to make wise decisions.
It should be emphasized that neighbors, friends, and family members of the deceased Bhopal Singh have frequently concurred that he was a lovely, open-minded person, making it improbable that he would have given such orders to kill themselves in September 2018.
The diary entries began after Bhopal Singh passed away, and most of the instructions and entries concerned Lalit. Experts and state actors realized that Lalit, the youngest son of Narayani Devi, was responsible for the Burari event as the investigation continued.
Lalit is said to have had dreams in which he spoke directly to his deceased father and received instructions on running the family, which were then carried out. He began to discuss these discussions with his family. One of the kids, Neetu, had told the neighbors that their uncle, Lalit, was under the influence of their grandfather’s ghost and that this ghost was directing them.
Lalit would adopt his deceased father’s voice whenever he spoke with his family about the directives he had gotten from him. Every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, the family would have a visit from the deceased father’s ghost, according to the diary.
The family’s financial stability was a result of the directions that were given. This increased the family’s faith in the father’s intended message. As the rite at the Banyan Tree was finished, it was promised that the late father, Bhopal Singh, would come to the family and save them.
The irony is that despite being taught to believe they would be spared, the family ultimately predicted their own demise.
Narayani Devi, Savita, and Tina’s daughters-in-law fit the mold of typical Indian housewives. They got up early, made breakfast for the family, cared for the young and old, and showed kindness and goodwill to all.
The copies and diaries retrieved from the Bhatia family’s home were given to Dr. Virendra Singh, Handwriting Division, Forensics Science Lab, Delhi, to identify the handwriting in the entries. It was discovered that Priyanka, Pratibha’s daughter, and Neetu, Bhuvnesh’s daughter, were the ones composing these messages.
The experts engaged in the case gradually realized that Lalit was responsible for the occurrence, and they could interpret his thoughts and the process he had been going through. He had a sense of being out of control in numerous ways, according to professional hypnotherapist Anita Anand.
The Chundawats also modified their manner of life. They stopped preparing and eating non-vegetarian food. Bhavnesh gave up drinking at home. Pujas started to happen often.
The number of stores increased from one to three, including the house floors, Bhavnesh’s grocery store, Lalit’s plywood shop, and the third one they were opening together.
Lalit’s Background in the Deaths
Lalit experienced his first motorcycle accident in 1988, which resulted in a lengthy hospital stay. It was discovered that Lalit sustained head injuries due to the accident. According to friends, he used to go to bed pretty early.
After relocating to Delhi, Lalit was the victim of another attack on March 26, 2004, which was more of a murderous assault. When Lalit used to work across the Yamuna river in a plywood shop in the suburbs, this incident had already happened.
He was imprisoned inside the store and set on fire. Lalit’s voice had been taken away as a result of this incident. Dr. Ambrarish Satwik, a vascular surgeon, noted that it is highly unusual for someone to lose their voice unless there is physical harm, trauma, or disease in the larynx.
In light of the current situation, clinical psychologist Dr. Roma Kumar commented that no one in the family had attempted to provide Lalit with treatment to aid in his recovery from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The family disregarded the recommendation for a psychiatrist check-up by the doctor who treated Lalit even though it considered his problems.
According to psychology, if a trauma is not treated in any people who have experienced it, a certain degree of psychosis—the mind’s inability to make reasonable decisions—sets in. Hearing voices is a direct consequence of psychosis. Lalit had regained his voice a year after the passing of his father.
A few days before Priyanka’s engagement was set to take place, according to neighbors, Lalit’s behavior pattern seemed to be shifting. He may have been reminded that no one should leave the house and move away from his religious beliefs. After the engagement, he had slept for stretches of two days.
The Investigation into the Burari Case
Following the conclusion of the ground investigation, the criminal branch decided to conduct a psychological autopsy, in which a team of researchers and psychologists probed the deceased’s mind to determine what transpired.
It was a shared psychosis since Lalit was the one who had it and was gradually passing it along to his family. Because of this, the family members began to believe Lalit without question. It was found that the family had not intended to kill themselves; instead, the situation drove them to do so.
The crime section had ended the three-year-long inquiry and declared that there had been no foul play involved, making the death of Burari an accident rather than a murder or suicide. Before the family members were cremated, the eldest brother donated the family members’ eyeballs.
Stories And Rumors About The Burari Family Deaths
In one of the bare walls of the house where the family once lived and the scene of the tragedy, reporters had spotted 11 pipes (7 pointing down and 4 facing straight). They also mentioned how the 11 members of the Bhatia family who had passed away were split evenly between seven ladies and four males.
The pipes were positioned similarly to how the family had strung themselves from the iron ceiling. Although the individual who installed the lines strongly disagreed with such accusations and insisted that they were installed for light and ventilation, the news on television claimed that the pipes were established to help the 11 souls escape.
In addition to 11 rods in the terrace railing, there were 11 grills on the house’s front door. The home featured exactly 11 windows and vents in addition to the same. The reason was that the incident at Burari had great significance for the number 11.
Geeta Mata, the father’s daughter and the plumber who had installed the pipes in the home, was unnecessarily implicated in the tragedy and accused of being a tantrik who killed the 11 family members.
When the woman wore red clothing, the media interviewed her and claimed she was connected to black magic. Even though she dispelled all myths surrounding the Burari event and said the media had unfairly targeted her, Geeta Mata was referred to as the family’s spiritual leader.
What We Can Learn From The Buari Deaths
The federal government published India’s first National Mental Health Policy five years ago. Even when the intentions are good, it seems tough to attain the goals. The government wants to ensure that everyone with a mental illness can access excellent treatment.
The policy states that “poverty and mental ill-health are intimately intertwined in a harmful feedback loop, and people from lower socio-economic categories are more sensitive to mental health problems.”
It promises to increase funding and ensure that enough qualified professionals are available. The policy’s principal objective is to fight stigmatization. Metropolitan regions are shown to have exceptionally high rates of mental morbidity, including schizophrenia, mood disorders, and neurotic or stress-related illnesses.
Fast-paced lifestyles, feelings of stress, the difficulty of living, a breakdown of social support, and problems with economic instability may be the causes.
The Burari death raises issues about the foundation of Indian society and its operating system. When it is revealed that the family members who had committed suicide had wealthy backgrounds and good educations, this question is even more compelling.
They portrayed themselves as the “ideal Indian family,” with 11 years of well-kept secrets. All social classes stigmatize and shame people with mental problems. Patients themselves are frequently reluctant to seek professional aid as a result.
They fear that their relatives could reject them and that they would be seen as a disgrace. Whether it be anxiety, depression, or addiction, patients frequently do not like to confess that they have a mental health disorder. The situation is made more challenging because anxiety and depression can drive addictions.
Lalit’s circumstance might have been something comparable to what was just mentioned.
There is hardly any forensic psychiatric infrastructure or training in India. A dedicated forensic psychiatry ward or unit needs to be improved in most psychiatric facilities. Most forensic examinations are performed by the treating psychiatrist, who has yet to gain formal training in forensic psychiatry.
As a result, many decisions are made based on trial and error or in good faith rather than on knowledge and skill. Also, India needs specialized forensic psychiatric training programs. Countries like the United Kingdom offer a three-year advanced structured training program in forensic psychology after finishing three years of basic psychiatric training.
Only a few locations in the nation provide forensic psychology training. While the death of Burari was one such instance in which a psychological autopsy was performed, numerous other such situations escape the attention of the media and do not thus come to light.
Not that the inquiry in this instance was improper or careless in any manner, but more remarkable is that India’s society lacks openness and communication even in the twenty-first century.
It is typically very challenging to conclude a case without perpetrators, witnesses, or victims because of the rampant rumors and superstitious beliefs pervasive in Indian society.
Similarly, the Burari death case led police detectives, the crime branch, and other state actors to conclude that the death was an accident; however, the surviving family members and relatives refused to accept this decision until today.
A Final Conclusion
In light of the Burari event, renowned journalist Barkha Dutt stated that the way the Burari case was reported—possibly in a crime drama manner—was one of the things that had gone glaringly wrong with this case and the reason why people know so little about it.
Numerology and tantric dimensions have played a significant role in exaggerating the case in front of the general public. The Burari event illustrates how disconnected society is. It is pronounced that Indian society is ill-equipped to deal with mental health issues in ways other than by repeating moral maxims or religious doctrines.
It makes the problems brought on by society’s quick transformation worse. Many people still value old community ties, but they are eroding due to various factors, not just the fact that conventional norms need to align with a modernized society.
This is obvious in cities, but it also impacts rural communities, which can now connect with relatives who have moved to the city and access mass media and the internet. If India’s mental health system is to advance, it must become a crucial component of its overall healthcare system.
More collaboration between general practitioners and specialists is required between psychiatrists and psychologists.
Next, read about the Ghosts of the SS Watertown Who Reported To Duty After Death and then about the Truly Disturbing Murder of Dorothy Scott…
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