Two women in lehengas and two boys in suits danced to a popular Hindi song as a crowd cheered – a wedding video that may have been unremarkable but for the fact that all four were found hanging in their Delhi home just two weeks later, on Sunday.
A day after 11 bodies were found in the home in north Delhi’s Burari that belonged to the Bhatias, the police say much of the evidence points at a mass suicide. One of the arguments against the theory is the engagement of 33-year-old Priyanka on June 17. A cousin has said that the night before the bodies were found, Priyanka had chatted with him about wedding shopping.
It is her engagement party video that is in circulation online. Those seen on video are Meenu, 23, Neetu, 25 and Dhruv and Shivam, both 15.
Meenu, Neetu and Dhruv were the children of Bhavnesh Bhatia, one of the six children of Narayan Devi, 77. Shivam was the son of Lalit Bhatia, another son of Narayan Devi.
Priyanka, who was engaged, was the daughter of Narayan Devi’s daughter Pratibha.
Relatives found it difficult to reconcile the dancing quartet on the video with the horror of the bodies at the Burari house.
“I can’t believe that they committed suicide. Everyone was so happy. Someone has killed my family and the police have to find them,” said Sujata Nagpal, another daughter of Narayan Devi, who lives in Panipat.
On Sunday morning, Narayan Devi was lying on the floor. Everyone else in the household, including the wives of Bhavnesh and Lalit, were found hanging from the ceiling, standing close to each other, their faces completely wrapped in bandage and their hands tied behind the back.
The lone survivor in the grisly scene was the family’s dog. There were no signs of robbery or struggle; only Narayan Devi was strangled, the police believe.
An autopsy has confirmed that at least six died of hanging, not strangling.
Handwritten notes found in the house point at ritualistic suicide, said the police. The instructions found in the notes matched the way the bodies were found.