Eleven members of a family, including seven women, were found dead under mysterious circumstances at their residence in north Delhi's Burari today, police said, sending shock waves through the area.
Ten of those dead were found hanging from an iron-mesh ceiling used for ventilation, while the body of a 77-year-old woman was lying on the floor in another room of the house.
Two of the deceased were children - both aged 15.
The eyes and mouth of those found hanging were covered with cloth and taped. The woman found dead on the floor was not blindfolded. The hands and feet of the children were tied, police said.
Police found some hand-written notes during a search of the house, which, they said, suggest the family might have into some sort of religious practices. But it was not immediately clear what exactly the contents of the notes were.
According to the police, they were informed by a neighbour that six to seven people have committed suicide. Upon reaching the spot, they found that 11 people have died.
The deceased were identified as Narayan Devi, who was found dead on the floor, her daughter Pratibha (57), her two sons Bhavnesh (50) and Lalit Bhatia (45).
Bhavnesh's wife Savita (48) and their three children - Meenu (23) and Nidhi (25), and Dhruv, aged 15.
Lalit Bhatia's wife Tina (42) and their 15-year-old son Shivam were also among those found dead.
Pratibha's daughter Priyanka (33), who was engaged last month and would have married by the end of this year, was also found hanging.
Bhavnesh ran a grocery store on the ground floor of the house. He used to open his shop around 6 am, the family's neighbour Amrik Singh said.
"Today, the shop was not opened till 7am. The milk van had arrived outside the shop. A couple of neighbours had gathered becaused the van driver was continuously honking. Then I opened the main gate and went upstairs. What I saw there left me shocked," said Gurcharan Singh, another neighbour.
Another area resident who had seen the bodies said: "They were all hanging with 'chunnis' while Lalit had a telephone wire wrapped around his neck."
After that, the residents called the police.
A senior police official said the crime branch will investigate the case. The police said they were probing all angles and have not ruled out the possibility of a foul play.
Earlier today, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari visited the neighbourhood.
The family was into plywood business and also ran a grocery store. They were living in the locality for nearly 20 years, residents said.
The residents were in a state of shock after learning about the tragedy. Other members of the family alleged that they had been killed.
Narayan Devi had three sons and daughters. The eldest son Dinesh Bhatia lives in Kota, Rajasthan. Pratibha, who was younger to Dinesh but elder to Bhavnesh and and her other siblings, was a widow and was living with her brothers.
One of Narayan Devi's daughters, Sujata, lives in Panipat with her family.
"I can't believe that they committed suicide. Everyone was so happy. Someone has killed my family and the police have to find them," a sobbing Sujata said.