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Hostage crisis of Farrukhabad ends; criminal killed

Subhash Batham, a lifer convicted of murder out on bail, had invited children to celebrate his daughter's birthday and then held them hostage

Editorials

In India

The crisis in a village of Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh, since last evening, where 16 children and four women were held hostage in the house of a man with a long criminal record ended a few hours ago, with the miscreant killed in a police encounter.

Subhash Batham, a resident of the Karsia village in Mohammadabad Kotwali area of Farrukhabad, had invited the children at home on the pretext of his daughter’s birthday and then held them captive. The news of the hostage situation spread like wildfire in the village when a woman came to get her children and was sent back with the message that the lives of 16 children were on the line.

The villagers wanted to talk to him but as soon as anyone went near his house, he would shoot. The drunken man threatened the villagers who came looking for the children, after which the police were informed. Led by the superintendent of police (SP) and ASP of the area, police arrived on the spot and surrounded the house.

Batham threw a hand grenade from inside the house, which injured Inspector Rakesh Kumar, PRV driver Diwan Jayveer and constable Anil. This police then retreated. They had failed to rescue the children. The criminal shot at local MLA Nagendra Singh, too, after which the police waited helplessly for the Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) commandos to arrive.

In between, Batham kept firing intermittently from inside the house.

The injured policemen were referred to the community health centre.

After this, the accused then demanded that he be allowed to talk to the MLA and the SP. When villagers Anupam Dubey and Satish Chandra Dubey tried to dissuade him from near the entrance of the house, Batham shot at them. These neighbours of Batham, both seriously but not fatally injured, were sent to the CHC.

The ATS arrived after this. The commandos and police surrounded the house. When they got a good shot from a roof of an adjacent house, they fired, killing Batham instantly. The hostage-taker had been a criminal with several cases registered against him. He had been released from on bail from a prison a few days ago.

ADG (Law and Order) PV Ramasastri, talking about the incident, said the man was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. The district magistrate, the SSP and a large number of police forces are still near Batham’s house as a rescue operation has taken over. Quick Response Team (QRT) and Special Operation Group (SOG) teams are deployed at the scene.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had called a high-level meeting even as the commando operation was on in Farrukhabad. Chief secretary, chief secretary (home), DGP, ADGP (law and order) were present in this meeting. The chief minister inquired about the case from the district magistrate and SP of Farrukhabad.

The police have not learnt so far the intention of Batham behind taking so many children hostage.

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