11 deaths, 11 diaries, 11 years: Burari’s number mystery foxes all

In the horrific deaths of 11 members of a family in Delhi’s Burari, number 11 seems to pop up every now and then.

Eleven people died in the house after 11 diaries were maintained for 11 years. Eleven plastic pipes were found protruding from a wall and the main gate had 11 rods.

The dead included 77-year-old Narayan Devi, her two sons Bhavnesh (50) and Lalit (45), their wives Savita (48) and Tina (42) respectively, a daughter Pratibha (57) and five grandchildren, Priyanka (33), Neetu (25), Monu (23), Dhruv and Shivam.

What has left the investigator foxed are the 11 pipes protruding from a wall facing an empty plot.

Four of the pipes are straight, seven are bent and one is little away from the rest. The neighbours see a pattern in this – four of the dead were men and seven women. Family matriarch, Narayani Devi’s body was found in a room away from the other family members.

However, a contractor and a welder, who installed the 11 pipes and as many iron rods on the main gate, have denied any planning or instructions behind the peculiar number.

An investigator said that the handwritten notes recovered from the house were being scanned for any reference to the pipes or the number 11.

The notes were prepared over 11 years in 11 diaries and one of the last entries shows the family was preparing for an experience that would be “earth shattering” the moment they hanged themselves to complete their “religious ritual”.

A police officer read out the contents of the note as, “Antim samay mein aakhiri ichcha ki poorti ke waqt aasmaan hilega, dharti kaapegi. Uss waqt tum ghabrana mat. Mantro ka jaap badha dena. Main aakar tumhein utaar loonga. Auron ko bhi utaarne mein madad karoonga. (At the last moment and during the fulfilment of the last wish, the sky will move and the earth will tremble. Do not panic at that moment. Chant more vigorously. I will come and bring you drown. I will also help bring down the others)”.

The police have inferred that Lalit Bhatia, who is believed to have written all these notes, was referring either to God or his father. “It also adds to the theory that the family did not plan to die and were instead hoping to be rescued ,” said the investigator.

Police said the ritualistic activities began in July 2007, a few months after the death of the family’s patriarch Bhopal Singh. The death had left the family shattered and Lalit was most affected. It was during that difficult phase that Lalit began telling his family that he was possessed by his father’s soul and was soon accepted as the head of the family. All the other occupants of the house, except his mother, began referring to him as ‘daddy’,” said a police officer

The deaths and the number mystery seem to have spooked the neighbours. Some locals suggested that a ‘hawan’ (religious ritual) will be performed in the neighbourhood. “Ye bhutiya colony lag rahi hai (This appears to be a ghostly colony),” said Shobhit Tyagi, a local resident.

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