Woman killed 10 of family, then self: Cops
Bodies of the 11 members of the Hindu family, which had moved from Pakistan to India in 2015, were found in a small house on a farm in Jodhpur district’s Lodata Alavata village on Sunday morning.Updated: Aug 11, 2020 04:09 IST
After a preliminary inquiry, the police are theorising that a female member of the household who worked as a nurse first served food laced with sedatives and then injected insecticide into 10 members of a Hindu immigrant family from Pakistan before taking her own life in a village in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur district, a senior police officer said on Monday.
Bodies of the 11 members of the Hindu family, which had moved from Pakistan to India in 2015, were found in a small house on a farm in Jodhpur district’s Lodata Alavata village on Sunday morning. The victims were identified as Budharam (75), Antara Devi (70), their son Ravi, 35, daughters Laxmi and Priya and six grandchildren.
The lone survivor, Kewalram, who reportedly slept in the veranda of the house, survived and claimed that he was not aware of what happened inside the house on Saturday night. He claimed to have seen the bodies only on Sunday morning. The police said on Sunday that they suspected a suicide pact.
“Preliminary probe suggests that the deceased were first given sedatives in food by one of the victims identified as Priya, who was a nurse. After victims felt unconscious, they were given insecticide injections and the poison mixed directly with blood and they died in sleep,” said Rahul Barhat, Jodhpur’s superintendent of police (SP).
“Priya injected the poison in her body through a cannula (a thin tube inserted into a vein or body to administer medicine) in her leg,” the SP said.
He said the injections were given in a “very professional manner” and only Priya, a trained nurse, could have administered them..
On the basis of the initial investigation, the police said there were two possibilities. First, it was a suicide pact. Second, Priya murdered her relatives and then killed herself. The possibilities fit in with the evidence that there were no injury marks on the bodies of any of the victims.
The reason for the deaths is still baffling the police.
In the investigation, the police have found that there had been a dispute between Kewalram and Ravi, the two brothers, and their in-laws for the last couple of years, which was mentioned in a suicide note the police claimed to have recovered from the house. The note also spoke of financial hardships the family was confronting.
Kewalram and Ravi had married sisters from a Bheel tribal family, whose parents now live in Jodhpur city. Their wives went to their parental house with their children a few months ago as the marital dispute deepened, the police said.
“Between 2018 and 2020, both families had filed complaints and counter-complaints accusing each other of harassment. In the latest complaint lodged at Mandor police station in Jodhpur city in March this year, the in-laws accused the entire family of domestic violence,” said another police officer, who didn’t want to be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Kewalram told police that his family were concerned they could all be arrested in the domestic violence case. They were also unsure about getting Indian citizenship if they were arrested and had conversation about the possibility of their repatriation back to Pakistan, the officer said.
The victim’s family had come to India from Sangad district in Sindh province of Pakistan in 2015, a year after the in-laws’ family came and settled in Jodhpur city. Under the citizenship law, a Pakistani has to be a resident of India for seven years before applying for Indian citizenship.
Barhat said the police don’t have evidence to suggest that Priya killed her family. “Priya was a professional nurse and therefore, there was a high probability that she did it. But again survival of Kewalram is big question mark in the entire story,” he said.
The SP said the medical reports would answer several unanswered questions.
On Monday, the post-mortem of the 11 bodies was conducted after Covid-19 tests showed they didn’t have the viral disease. Later, with the help of the district administration, the funerals were performed.
A team of medical experts would examine the post-mortem results, a police officer said. Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday said a thorough investigation will be conducted.