Netflix’s latest docuseries, ‘House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths,’ offers an insight into what happened in Burari in 2018 when 11 members of a family were found dead.
Based on a true story, the series deals with the investigation into the infamous and disturbing case that shook the entire nation.
On 1st July, 2018, the police were alerted of a crime in Delhi's Burari area. When the police reached the spot, they found 11 members (across 3 generations) of the Chundawat family dead.
The bodies were apparently found hanging from a grill in the ceiling, their faces wrapped, mouths duct-taped and hands tied behind their back. The police officer who reached the house first, talked to media about what he saw. He said:
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
What was initially suspected to be a murder turned out to be a case of 'mass suicide'. The investigators apparently found 11 dairies from the home, each detailing the situation. Based on the diary entries, the police suspected it to be a case of a ritual gone wrong.
Narayani Devi, the matriarch of the family, was found in the bedroom, and it appeared that she had been strangled to death. Two of her sons and a daughter, Bhavnesh, Lalit, and Pratibha, were also among those found dead.
As per the findings, it was believed that Lalit, Narayani Devi's youngest son was possessed by the spirit of his late father Bhopal Singh, who passed away in 2007.
According to Lalit, Bhopal Singh gave him instructions on how to lead a better life and had also told him to worship a banyan tree so that the family would do well financially. The family followed what Lalit told them and started doing great. This reinforced their faith in rituals.
CCTV footages from outside the home also revealed that no outsider was involved in the deaths. In fact, some family members were seen carrying stools and wires into the house. These items were later used in the deaths.
Further investigations revealed that the family believed that they would survive the rituals but sadly they didn't. The ritual was apparently a “thanksgiving ceremony” that lasted seven days.
The diary notes also led the police to conclude that Lalit wanted to replicate a "badh (banyan) tapasya", in which the family was supposed to arrange itself to hang like the branches of a banyan tree to "make the gods happy".
As per a report by NDTV, the last diary entry before the deaths, was titled "Road to God".
According to the psychological autopsy report of the deceased, the family members did not wish to commit suicide but the deaths happened due to an "accident that occurred during a ritual".
Some reports call them the Bhatia family, but Bhopal Singh’s only surviving son Dinesh Singh Chundawat told the Hindu that they were Chundawats. His mother was a 'Bhatia' from Punjab while his father was 'Chundawat'.
Dinesh is not satisfied with the police investigations as he still believes that his family was not into supernatural things.
You can watch the three-part docuseries on Netflix for more details.