20 children held hostage in UP village by murder accused, CM monitoring developments

Farrukhabad (UP), Jan 30 (PTI) Twenty children are being held hostage at a house in a village here by a man, who is facing murder charges, police said on Thursday.

Subhash Batham, who had invited the children for a birthday party, fired from inside the house on those who tried to speak to him, they said.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is monitoring the situation in Farrukhabad's Kasaria village, which is nearly 200 km from Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow.

The children are in the age group of five to seven years and they are in the house for the past seven to eight hours, a distraught mother said around 11 pm.

'They must be thirsty and hungry by now,' she said, claiming that one of the children is barely two-and a half years old. Television channels have appealed to Batham to contact them in case he wanted to share his demands with the government or authorities. 'We are ensuring the safe rescue of the children and if needed, the NSG (National Security Guard) will also be called for the operation,' Director General of Police (DGP) O P Singh.

He said that commando units have been directed to reach the village.   A top home department official has asked the electronic media not to show rescue operation live.  Police said Batham is a murder accused and he seems to be mentally unstable.

'Twenty children are being held hostage at Kasaria village,' Additional Director General of Police P V Rama Shastri said.

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, who appears to be mentally unstable, 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.

The chief minister is personally monitoring the situation and has directed top officials to ensure the immediate release of the children without any physical harm, officials said. PTI ABN SMI ANB ANB