In a late night operation in Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh police shot dead a murder accused and rescued his wife and over 21 children whom he had held hostage in his basement since 5 pm on Thursday (January 30). The accused, 40-year-old Subhash Chandra Batham, had lured them into his house on the pretence of his daughter’s birthday celebrations.
Batham has about four criminal cases pending against him, including one for murder. Sources said he is either mentally unstable or under intoxication. Sources said he seems to be in a confused state of mind and is asking for a dialogue with the local MLA before he sets the hostages free. Within minutes, he changed his stand and asked that the local MP be called there as he wants to speak to him.
Later in the night, he freed an one-and-half-year-old toddler named Shabnam. Batham handed over the toddler to the police through a window of the house. She was said to be the youngest among the captives and was crying profusely.
He also threw out a letter, in which he alleged he did not get a house the Prime Minister Awaas Yojana and neither a toilet under the announced government scheme. He has also accused the Gram Pradhan and the District Magistrate of corruption in the implementation of these schemes.
DGP OP Singh held a high-level meeting and has briefed Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath about the incident. Black Cat Commandos of the National Security Guard (NSG) have also been called in. Sources said the commandos had left for Farrukhabad from their Delhi base, but the police decided to break in once they seemed confident. Inspector General of Police Mohit Aggarwal led the late night operation.
Police said the convict had invited the children and women from his village on the pretence of celebrating his daughter’s birthday. However, locals said he had recently celebrated his daughter’s birthday and convinced them saying it is a tradition in his family to celebrate birthdays twice.
Once the guests entered the house, he forced everyone to the basement of his house at gunpoint. This included his own wife and children. Sources said sound of a low-intensity blast was also heard from the house and that he possessed a country-made pistol.
The neighbours came looking for their children when they didn’t return after a while, but were forced to retreat. Reports suggest the villagers alerted the police when the convict started shooting at them. Soon, a PCR van arrived at his house.
Seeing the van, Batham started firing at them from the terrace of his house, police said. He also threw a crude bomb at the van. Two constables were suffered pellet injuries, besides another man who shot on his leg when went to convince Batham to free the hostages.
Subsequently, a police team led by the Kanpur Zone Inspector General and commandos of the Anti-Terrorism Squad were deployed on the spot. Initially, the police tried to engage into a discussion with Batham in a bid to avoid a shootout.