UP hostage crisis: Six-month-old girl released, over 20 children still being held captive

Farrukhabad (UP), Jan 30 (PTI) An armed man, accused of murder, took hostage over 20 children on Thursday after inviting them for a birthday party at his house in a village here, police said.

Hours later, he released a six-month-old girl by handing her over to his neighbour from a balcony, even as the crisis continued late into the night at Kasaria village, they said.

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.

He has released a six-month-old girl and a special team and other officials are engaging with him, Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP) O P Singh.

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.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is monitoring the situation in Farrukhabad, which is nearly 200 km from state 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. 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.

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 NES SMI ANB ANB ANB