NEW DELHI — Eleven members of a family were found dead at their home near New Delhi on Sunday, most of them hanged from the ceiling, blindfolded and gagged, the police said.
The victims included a 77-year-old woman, her two sons, their wives, a daughter and five grandchildren, the police said. Ten of the bodies, which were apparently found by a neighbor, were hanged from an iron rail attached to the ceiling, and an 11th body, that of the elderly woman, was lying on the ground.
The police said the circumstances that led to the deaths were not clear. Several officials initially said that the family members had killed themselves, but no suicide note was found at the scene. Officials later told Indian news outlets that the family members may have been murdered.
The police said in a statement released Sunday evening that handwritten notes found in the house pointed toward the “observance of some definite spiritual or mystical practices by the whole family.”
“Coincidentally, these notes have strong similarity with the manner in which the mouths, eyes, etc. of the deceased were tied and taped,” the police said.
The family lived in the town of Burari, north of the capital, where a large migrant population lives in rickety buildings squished into congested alleyways. Gangs also have a presence in the area, where several people were killed during a shootout last month.
Neighbors said that the family had lived in the area for nearly two decades, and that they had run a business selling plywood and a small grocery store.
The store usually opened around 6 a.m., and one neighbor told reporters that he had found the bodies after looking upstairs when the shop was not open at 7:30 a.m.
Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi, visited Burari and spoke with the family’s neighbors, who told him that the family had a very good reputation. “It’s very difficult to understand why this incident happened,” Mr. Kejriwal told reporters.
Kai Schultz contributed reporting.
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