Uttar Pradesh police late on Thursday successfully rescued 23 children held hostage by a murder accused in Farrukhabad. The children, aged between 6 months to 15 years were taken hostage after the accused had invited them to his daughter's birthday party. The captor has been killed in the operation. The hostage drama began at Kasaria village in the afternoon and continued for about 8 hours.
Commenting on the operation, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi said, "The accused was killed and there were about 23 children who were rescued safely." A press conference to address the situation was held at 1:20 am.
"The accused had invited the children for the birthday party of his daughter and held them hostage. It started about 5.45 pm on January 30 and continued for about eight hours," Director General of Police (DGP) OP Singh said, adding that in the entire operation they had tried to "engage" the accused and were successful.
He said the accused had initially released a 6-month-old girl by handing her over to his neighbour from a balcony.
Police said Batham handed over the girl to his neighbour from a balcony.
Accused Subhash Batham fired from inside the house on those who tried to speak to him, police said, adding that a man and two policemen suffered a bullet injury.
The motive of the accused was not known immediately.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath monitored the situation in Farrukhabad, which is nearly 200 km from state capital Lucknow.
"The CM as soon as he got to know about the incident called a meeting of the crisis management group and personally monitored the situation and ensured children are rescued safely," Awasthi said.
Earlier, a team of NSG (National Security Guard) commandos had taken a special aircraft to reach Farukhabad, a senior security official in Delhi said.
Police said Batham, a murder accused, seemed to be mentally unstable.
Inspector-General of Police, Kanpur Range, Mohit Agarwal, said, "The man called the children for a birthday party and held them hostage in the basement of the house. He fired six shots from inside the building."
He said Batham fired on those who attempted to speak to him.
Batham wanted to talk to the local MLA, but he refused to speak to the leader when he arrived, Agarwal said.