UP hostage crisis: All children rescued, accused killed

Farrukhabad (UP), Jan 30 (PTI) Over 20 children, aged between six months and 15 years, were rescued after an armed man, a murder accused who took them hostage after inviting them for a birthday party at his house in a village here, was killed on Thursday night, police said.

The hostage drama began at Kasaria village in the afternoon. Hours later, the accused released a six-month-old girl by handing her over to his neighbour from a balcony, they said.

Accused Subhash Batham fired from inside the house on those who tried to speak to him, police said, adding that a man suffered a bullet injury.

The man who had held the children hostage was killed, Additional Chief Secretary Avanish Awasthi told PTI.

Earlier, a team of NSG (National Security Guard) commandos has taken a special aircraft to reach Farukhabad, a senior security official in Delhi said.

Police said Batham handed over the girl to his neighbour from a balcony.

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.

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 will also be called for the operation,' the DGP said earlier.

He said that commando units have been directed to reach the village.   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 NES SMI SMN SMN