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.
#NewsAlert – 23 children, who had been taken hostage by a murder accused after inviting them to his daughter's birthday party, were rescued late last night after police killed the captor in a village in Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh. pic.twitter.com/SUpCW8duZe
— News18 (@CNNnews18) January 31, 2020
According to Mishra, Batham had gathered enough explosives to blow up his entire house and also had a handgun and a rifle in his possession.
During the negotiation, Batham reportedly detonated one explosive that led to one of the walls in his house to collapse. After he threatened further violence and fired a few rounds at the police, authorities decided to barge into the residence. The suspect was killed in the ensuing encounter. Officials were subsequently able to safely rescue all of the children who remained trapped in the basement the entire time.
Batham’s wife, who was also inside the house during the crisis, was later attacked by a mob of angry people who had gathered outside the home. Police officials say the mob, which consisted of fellow villagers, attacked Batham’s wife as soon as she opened the door. She was reportedly pelted with stones, dragged out, and beaten up.
The woman was taken to a hospital where she later died.
Meanwhile, Batham’s 1-year-old daughter has been orphaned following the tragedy and has been moved to a state-run facility.