Burari deaths

The Burari deaths (बुरारी कांड), refer to the deaths of eleven family members of the Bhatia family[1] from Burari, Delhi, India, in 2018. Ten family members 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 as mass suicide,[2] with an angle of shared psychosis being investigated.[3][4]


The Chundawat family (also known as Bhatia family by neighbours)[1] had been living in the double-story house in Burari's Sant Nagar neighbourhood for around twenty years, after moving from their native town in Tohana, Haryana. The family ran a grocery shop and plywood business in the area. The family consisted of:[5]

  • Narayani Devi (80), mother of Bhuvnesh, Lalit and Pratibha
  • Bhuvnesh (50), elder son of Narayani Devi
  • Lalit (45), younger son of Narayani Devi
  • Savita (48), elder daughter-in-law of Narayani Devi
  • Tina (42), younger daughter-in-law of Narayani Devi
  • Pratibha Bhatia (57), widowed daughter of Narayani Devi
  • Priyanka (33), daughter of Pratibha,
  • Nitu (25), elder daughter of Bhuvnesh
  • Menaka (Monu) (16), younger daughter of Bhuvnesh
  • Dhruv (15), only son and youngest child of Bhuvnesh
  • Shivam (15), son and only child of Lalit

In 2006,[6] 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 the ways to attain a good life. Since 2007 he had been maintaining a diary on his father’s "instructions".[7]

Discovery of bodies

On the morning of 1 July 2018 around 7:15 am, neighbour Gurcharan Singh, who used to go on morning walks with one of the deceased, went to the Chundawat residence after noticing Lalit Chundawat's absence for the morning walk, as well as the fact that the shops were still not opened (the shops usually open at 5-5.30am). Gurcharan Singh found the door of the house open and the ten people, including Lalit Chundawat, hanging. He raised an alert by calling other neighbours, and police received the call around 7:30am.[8][9]


Ten of the eleven people – two men, six women and two teens – were found hanging in the courtyard of the house. They were blindfolded and their mouths were taped. Some of the bodies had their hands and feet tied as well. Another woman, 80-year-old Narayani Devi was found dead in another room. It appeared that she had been strangled.[10]

Members of the family were found hanging from a mesh in their ceiling in the hallway, all close together. 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.[11][12] Their faces were covered with cloth pieces cut from a single bed-sheet.[13]

Tommy, the pet dog of the family, was the only survivor in the house. He was chained on the terrace and suffering from high fever when the police found him after discovering the 11 bodies. It was not clear who had tied him. He was later said to have been convalescing at Noida’s House of Stray Animals, where he was taken immediately after being rescued. Tommy died of a heart attack on Sunday, 22 July 2018.


Police initially registered a case of murder (due to immense public scrutiny, pressure from hardline groups and accusations of coverup from relatives) even though they believed the circumstances surrounding the deaths point to mass suicide for occult reasons. Police also investigated the possibility of murder with a motive other than occult.[5][14][15]

Police found 11 diaries in the house, all of them maintained for the period of eleven years.[16][17] Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Alok Kumar stated: "We have found handwritten notes detailing how hands and legs are to be tied and are quite similar to the manner in which the bodies of 10 persons were found. They are exhaustive notes and we are studying them."[10] Details/directions provided in the diaries match how the bodies were found with their faces covered, mouths taped, and cotton balls in ears. The diary also mentions: "everyone will tie their own hands and when the kriya (ritual) is done then everyone will help each other untie their hands", indicating that the family was not expecting to die.[11]

Psychological view

Psychologists have commented that these deaths are a result of ‘shared psychotic disorder’ in which members of a group blindly trust one among them and follow instructions without questioning. Psychologists debate whether Lalit suffered from a ‘delusional disorder’.[18]

In popular culture

Three-part true crime docu-series titled House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths is based on the case. Created by Leena Yadav, the series premiered on Netflix on 8 October 2021.[19][20]

See also


  1. ^ a b Bhandari, Hemani (16 July 2018). "Burari deaths: 11 bright people with one dark secret". The Hindu – via www.thehindu.com.
  2. ^ "CCTV footage shows what happened moments before 11 burari deaths".
  3. ^ "Burari deaths: Family may have been suffering from 'shared psychosis'".
  4. ^ "Burari deaths: CCTV footage reveals more details of suicide plans".
  5. ^ a b "Occult Angle Suspected After Family Of 11 Found Dead In Delhi Home".
  6. ^ "Burari hangings: Week-long 'thanksgiving ritual' led to deaths, Delhi police suspect". 5 July 2018.
  7. ^ "Burari deaths: Brother said father's soul possessed him, gave him directions". 3 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Delhi: 11 members of a family found dead in Burari, investigation on". The Economic Times. 1 July 2018.
  9. ^ "Delhi mystery deaths: What we know and what we don't - Times of India ►".
  10. ^ a b "11 Mass Dead In A Delhi Family, Handwritten Notes Offer Big Clue".
  11. ^ a b "10 People Shared 5 Stools In Delhi Family Hangings, Say Police: 10 Facts".
  12. ^ "Burari deaths: One family member tried stopping "ritual" while hanging".
  13. ^ "One Person Stand Guard While Others Hang: Note At Delhi Family's Home".
  14. ^ "Bhatia diaries hint at ritual to free 'spirits' from their house - Times of India".
  15. ^ "Burari family of 11 waited for God to save them, instead got death". 2 July 2018. Archived from the original on 2 July 2018.
  16. ^ "11 deaths, 11 diaries, 11 years: Burari's number mystery foxes all". 5 July 2018.
  17. ^ "Eleven People, 11 Diaries, 11 Pipes - Burari's Number Mystery".
  18. ^ "Hangings, rituals, godmen: Mystery of Delhi house where 11 of family died". Hindustan Times. 7 July 2018. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  19. ^ Arora, Akhil (3 March 2021). "Netflix Unveils 4 Indian Documentaries – From Karan Johar, Leena Yadav, Vice, and India Today". NDTV. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  20. ^ "House of Secrets The Burari Deaths director Leena Yadav: 'The mind behind the crime is the biggest catch'". The Indian Express. 13 October 2021. Retrieved 19 October 2021.


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