A 50-year-old man allegedly killed 10 members of his family, including nine young girls, before hanging himself to death in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi district, police said on Wednesday.
The bodies were found inside the family’s home with their throats slit.
Murder-suspect Jamaludeen allegedly gave a sedative to the family after dinner on Tuesday night, saying it’s a medicine for good health during winter.
After the drug took effect, he killed everyone sleeping in the verandah, including his daughters and nieces aged between five and 17, police said.
His 40-year-old second wife, Zahida, and daughter Afsaar, 20, were sleeping in a room locked from inside. They were unhurt but disoriented, allegedly under the
influence of the sedative that Jamaludeen gave them.
His jobless younger brothers, Samsudeen and Raees, were not at home. They survived, as did Raees’s wife who was at her parents’ place.
The dead included Jamaludeen’s five other daughters — Tabassum, Afreen, Mariam, Sania and Ujma.
Samsudeen’s 35-year-old wife Hussaina Bano, their daughters Rubina and Tahseen, and Raees’s daughters Mahek and Nijar Fatima were murdered too.
The two surviving women said Jamaludeen committed suicide after the killing spree. They told police the man tried to break the door to their room but failed.
Jamaludeen was the primary earning member of the family. He ran a battery and gas refilling shop at his village in the Sukul Bazaar area, nearly 70km southeast of Lucknow.
The brothers who stayed with him used to do odd jobs. He had strained ties with the two. A third brother, Bablu, stays separately. Jamaludeen divorced his first wife about 20 years ago.
Police were exploring every angle to find out the murder motive, and see if someone else committed the crime and tried to pass off the blame on Jamaludeen by making his death look like a suicide after the grisly killings.
The discovery of two bloodstained butcher’s knives triggered suspicions.
“Why would Jamaludeen use two draggers if he singlehandedly killed the children and his brother’s wife before committing suicide,” inspector general of police A Satish Ganesh said.
Jamaludeen’s autopsy report would be crucial to ascertain if he too was killed and left hanging from the ceiling as a decoy to put investigators off the track.
“A team from Lucknow will collect forensic evidence. A forensic expert will be present during the postmortem examination of the bodies on Thursday,” Ganesh said.
Police will question the two women and Jamaludeen’s brothers to try to reconstruct the sequence of events and uncover the motive.
The brothers said Jamaludeen was mentally disturbed and often did strange things.
A large posse of policemen dashed to the village after the murder was reported. Thousands of villagers and people from adjoining areas had gathered at the spot.