Farrukhabad hostage crisis: How a 15-year-old saved the other children

Avaneesh Mishra
I locked basement door to save other children: Farrukhabad girl taken hostage

A personnel of the bomb disposal squad at the spot

A 15-year-old girl, the oldest among the 23 children taken hostage by murder convict Subhash Batham, remained calm and took care of the other captives during the nine-hour crisis on Thursday at Karthiya village near Farrukhabad in Fatehgarh district. The Class IX student kept Batham, who was killed by police force early on Friday, at bay by locking the door of the basement where they were holed up.

Asked how she pulled this off, she said being the eldest among the children, she felt responsible for the safety of the other children. “Around 2.15 pm, when we reached Subhash’s house, he gave us some biscuits and chocolates. As we settled down, he forced us into the basement. He threatened that if we resist, he will shoot us. It took me some time to realise that we were in a dangerous situation,” said the student, who is the eldest among four siblings. Two of her siblings, aged 12 and 10, were also held captive. The girl’s mother is a daily-wage labourer and her father died two years ago.

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“In the basement, the children started crying. I calmed them down and told them that we are going to get out soon. I told them that if we die, we will die together. I was not sure if saying such things would help, but it did. After a few hours, they were hungry. I passed the message to Subhash and police passed on some biscuit packets through a hole,” she added.

After sometime, the girl gathered courage and asked the captor to release a nine-month-old baby who was crying.

“He agreed to my request. Later, I learnt that a similar demand was also made by police.”

Read | Farrukhabad: Man who took 23 kids hostage is killed, wife beaten to death by mob

At the same time, police presence increased around Batham’s house, which infuriated him.

“Subhash was getting angry and I knew I had to do something. When he and his wife left the basement, I locked the door. He heard the sound of the door being locked and started banging on the door. I did not open it. The children were crying, but I knew if I open the door, he will kill us. I opened the door when policemen entered the house,” she added.