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"Unraveling the Enigma: "The Bizarre Tale of 11 Suicides"

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By Devesh KadamPublished about a month ago 3 min read

The Burari deaths were a ritual mass suicide of eleven family members of the Chundawat family from Burari, Delhi India, in 2018. Ten people were found hanged, while the oldest family member, the grandmother, was strangled. The bodies were found on 1 July 2018, in the early morning after the death. The police have ruled the deaths were motivated by shared delusion or psychosis.

The Chundawat family had lived in the three-story house for around twenty years, after moving from their native. The family ran a grocery shop and plywood business in the area. The family consisted of a total of 11 members namely:

• Narayani Devi (80), mother of Bhuvnesh, Lalit and Pratibha

• Pratibha Bhatia (57), widowed daughter of Narayani Devi

• Bhuvnesh (50, also spelled as Bhavnesh), elder son of Narayani Devi

• Lalit (45), younger son of Narayani Devi

• Savita (48), elder daughter-in-law of Narayani Devi, wife of Bhuvnesh

• Tina (42, also spelled as Teena), younger daughter-in-law of Narayani Devi, wife of Lalit

• Priyanka (33), only daughter of Pratibha

• Nitu (25, also spelled as Neetu), elder daughter of Bhuvnesh

• Monu (called "Menaka") (23), younger daughter of Bhuvnesh

• Dhruv (called "Dushyant") (15), only son and youngest child of Bhuvnesh

• Shivam (15), son and only child of Lalit

On the morning of 1 July 2018 (at around 7:15 am), the neighbour, who used to go on morning walks with one of the deceased, went to the Chundawat residence. He noticed Lalit Chundawat's absence for the morning walk, as well as the fact that the Chundawat's shops were still not open. The shops usually used to be opened between 5 and 5:30 am. He then found the door of the house open and the ten people, including Lalit Chundawat, hanging. He raised an alert by calling other neighbours. Police received the call around 7:30am.

Ten of the eleven people were found hanging in the courtyard of the house all close to each other. They were blindfolded and their mouths were taped. Some of the bodies had their hands and feet tied. The grandmother, 80 years old, was found dead in another room. It appeared that she had been strangled. Their faces were wrapped almost entirely, ears plugged with cotton, mouths taped and hands tied behind the back. There were five stools, probably shared by the 10 members. Their faces were covered with cloth pieces cut from a single bed sheet.

Evidence found in the house pointed to mass suicide for occult reasons. Police found 11 diaries in the house, all of them were maintained for eleven years. Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Alok Kumar stated: "We have found handwritten notes detailing how hands and legs were tied and are quite similar to how the bodies of 10 persons are found. They are exhaustive notes and we are studying them."

Flashback: In 2007, the elder member of the family Lalit Chundawat's father Bhopal Singh died of natural causes. After the death of their father, Lalit became very introverted. One day, he told his family that he was possessed by his father's soul, who advised him on the ways to attain a good life. Since 2007, he along with Priyanka and Nitu had been maintaining a diary on his father's "instructions".

Handwriting analysis revealed that these diaries were written by Priyanka and Nitu, but were supposedly dictated to Lalit by his late father's spirit. Lalit is believed to have masterminded the incident. The crime branch believes that Lalit alone was responsible for tying the hands and legs of the family members. Lalit had told the family members that the soul of his father had entered his body to get the family to follow him.

According to psychologists, this sequence of events can be caused by 'shared psychotic disorder', where members blindly follow the instructions of one among them. They propose that Lalit had a 'delusional disorder’.


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    DKWritten by Devesh Kadam

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