Indian man killed in police shoot-out after holding 23 children hostage at fake birthday party

Speaking at a press conference, local authorities described how Subhash Batham invited the children to his house in Kasaria village in Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh on Thursday evening under the pretext of holding a birthday party for his 1-year-old daughter, but then locked the children in his basement.

The 23 children held hostage were all aged around 10, with the exception of one baby, Anil Mishra, Superintendent of Police for Farrukhabad, told CNN.

OP Singh, Uttar Pradesh’s Director General of Police, said at the press conference that Batham was killed by police during rescue operations involving the national security guard and an anti-terrorism squad.

“He invited the children on the pretext of holding a birthday party for his daughter and locked the children in the basement of his house,” Singh said.

Mishra told CNN that Batham had several criminal convictions and was on bail on a murder charge at the time of the incident.

He said Batham was demanding a ransom of 10 million rupees (around $140,000) for each child, and asking for the charges against him to be dropped.

Authorities attempted to negotiate with Batham for about eight hours, and police received information that he had weapons and explosives, officials said.

“Arms and ammunition in large quantities have been recovered from his house, he had enough ammunition that his entire house could have been blown up,” Mishra told CNN, noting that Batham was in possession of a handgun, cartridges and a rifle.

“He had used one of the explosives and a side wall of his house had collapsed. He had also collected and piled up the bricks from that wall. He also kept continuously firing at the police officers,” Mishra added.

In Friday’s press conference, Singh said police entered the property from behind when Batham threatened to use explosives, and he was killed in a shoot-out.

Officials said all of the children were rescued and authorities were attempting to reunite them with their parents.

Mishra told CNN that Batham’s wife was attacked by a group of people who gathered outside the house and later died in hospital.

“When the wife of the perpetrator opened the door, she was attacked by the people that were gathered outside the house and they pelted stones at her and beat her up. She was taken to the hospital, however she died at the hospital after a couple of hours,” Mishra said.

“The perpetrator’s daughter is currently with one of her relatives in the village and is due to be presented in front of the child welfare committee,” he added.

Esha Mitra reported from New Delhi, Amy Woodyatt wrote from London.

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