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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 October 2018

Eleven bodies, 10 of them hanging, found at New Delhi home

The Indian authorities said it is still unclear if those found dead were killed or committed suicide

Women sitting on a rooftop watch as bystanders gather while an ambulance carrying bodies of victims drives out near the site where 11 family members were found dead inside their New Delhi home. Sajjad Hussain / AFP   
Women sitting on a rooftop watch as bystanders gather while an ambulance carrying bodies of victims drives out near the site where 11 family members were found dead inside their New Delhi home. Sajjad Hussain / AFP   

Police in India's capital said they found 11 bodies in a home under mysterious circumstances on Sunday, including 10 that were blindfolded and hanging.

The victims were all from the same family and most had lived in the home where they were found in Burari village in the northern part of New Delhi, said police officer Vineet Kumar.

Kumar said police began their investigation after receiving a call Sunday morning that some "members of a family have committed suicide."

Ten bodies, blindfolded by cotton and pieces of cloth, were found hanging from an iron grill used as a ventilator in the home's courtyard, while the body of a 70-year-old woman was lying on the floor of the house, said a police official who spoke on condition of anonymity, in line with department policy.

But he said that no suicide note was found, and that police were investigating whether the victims — four men, three women and four girls — died by suicide or were killed.

There were no bullet marks on the victims' bodies and there was no sign of forced entry into the house, Kumar said.

"We're yet to reach any conclusion whatsoever," he said.

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The family had lived in the house for more than two decades, the Hindustan Times newspaper reported. It said the house belongs to a businessman who ran a plywood shop.

The newspaper said that early Sunday morning, a neighbour with whom the businessman used to go for morning walks went to see him and found the door of the house open and the 10 people, including the businessman, hanging. He raised an alarm and people called the police.

Arjun Thukral, a relative of the family who lives in the same neighbourhood, said he ran to the victims' house as news of the deaths spread.

"I saw the bodies hanging, stools lying around, and my wife's aunt sprawled on the floor by the bed. I couldn't bear watching any more," he said.

Thukral questioned whether the family had died by suicide.

"No father can kill his own son. … How would a mother be able to kill her own children? I don't think they committed suicide. These are murders," he said.

New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who visited the scene, called the incident "tragic."

"Police are investigating. … Let's wait for their investigation to be over," he said.

In a video posted on Twitter by Kejriwal's ruling party, the neighbours are heard telling Kejriwal that the family was busy with wedding preparations.

A neighbour of the family said they couldn't have died by suicide, New Delhi Television reported. The neighbour said he spoke to one of the victims Saturday night and found no sign of any stress, the report said.

Indian TV channels broadcast interviews with neighbours who said the family did not have any discord among themselves.

Police official Rajesh Khurana told reporters that all angles were being investigated. "We can't rule out anything," he said.