The last meal that a family of 11 had before mysteriously hanging themselves on Saturday night in their home in Delhi was rotis delivered at their doorstep.
The order of 20 rotis was delivered by a young man named Rishi, who is probably the last person to see the family alive. He said the family seemed “normal” and there was no sign that something so tragic and horrifying was to happen just hours later.
Rishi delivered 20 rotis – the family hadn’t ordered curry or anything else – and was paid Rs 200.
“They had placed an order for 20 rotis at 10:30 pm, I went to deliver it at 10:45 pm. The daughter took the order and asked her father to pay me. Everything was normal,” he told ANI news agency.
The next morning, 10 members of the Bhatia family, including two 15-year-old boys and a young woman engaged to be married, were found hanging in the hallway. The 11th member, Narayani Devi, 75, was found dead on the floor, also from hanging.
The police believe, from handwritten notes found at the home, that the hangings were ritualistic and detailed steps to “salvation” were followed by one man, Lalit Bhatia, who allegedly hallucinated about his dead father.
One of his notes, which filled more than two diaries found by the police, reads that food was to be ordered from outside and “the mother would feel rotis to everyone”. Some ate and some didn’t, according to the autopsy.
The police are exploring the theory of “shared psychotic disorder”, which means that the family went by Lalit Bhatia’s imaginings and blindly followed him.