An Indian man who allegedly invited close to two dozen children in his neighborhood for a fake birthday party and held them hostage for more than eight hours has been shot dead by the local police.
According to CNN, the incident happened Thursday evening in a small village called Kasaria in the northern Indian district of Farrukhabad, located in the state of Uttar Pradesh. This is the same state where back in 2017, 60 children had died in a hospital due to lack of oxygen cylinders, per The Inquisitr.
Anil Mishra, Superintendent of Police for Farrukhabad, explained that the man -- later identified as Subhash Batham -- had invited the hostages under the pretext of hosting a birthday party for his 1-year-old daughter. However, after all the 23 children from the neighborhood arrived, he forcibly took all of them and locked them away in his basement, he continued.
According to officials, almost all of the children were aged around 10. There was one toddler among the trapped individuals, reportedly aged just 6-months-old.
Law enforcement authorities later revealed that Batham had several criminal convictions in the past. At the time of the incident, he was on bail for alleged murder. Batham reportedly asked for a ransom of 10 million rupees ($140,000) for each of the 23 children and also demanded that all charges against him be dropped. He allegedly threatened to kill the hostages if authorities did not meet his demands.
The hostage situation continued for more than eight hours, during which the police made several attempts to coax Batham into surrendering. However, after they received information about the suspect having a large cache of explosives in his possession, they decided to launch an operation to rescue the hostages.