Driven to despair by indigence and an alcoholic husband, a woman and her four children poisoned themselves in a village in Orissa's Cuttack district, the police said on Thursday.
The incident took place at Patasunderpur village, some 40 kms from the state capital in Bhubaneswar, late on Wednesday night and came to light when the husband informed his neighbours on Thursday morning, a district police official told IANS.
Kailash Sethi said he wanted to wake his wife and children in the morning but they did not open the room in which they had gone to sleep.
The villagers rushed to the spot, broke into the room and found all five lying dead. They had apparently drunk a pesticide.
"A police team has rushed to the spot and is investigating the cause of the deaths although it appears to be a case of mass suicide," the police official said.
According to villagers, Kailash works as a daily labourer but spends all his earnings on alcohol.
This and poverty could be the reasons that prompted the woman and her daughters to end their lives, said a villager.