Photos: 25 children, 2 captors and an 11-hour hostage crisis kept UP on edge

A couple in Karthia village in Farrukhabad, about 200km from Lucknow, locked 25 kids in a bunker after luring them home, triggering a hostage crisis that culminated in the death of the two. Despite the house stacked with 150 crude bombs, and Subhash Batham wielding a rifle and a pistol, all 25 children escaped unscathed, thanks largely to the presence of mind of two teenagers who managed to stall Batham, snap the bomb-connecting wires, and lock the hostage-taker out of the bunker.

UPDATED ON FEB 04, 2020 07:44 PM IST 12 Photos
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Villagers gather outside the house of Subhash Batham, who had taken 25 children hostage and was later killed in police operation, at Karthia village, in Farrukhabad. Despite the house stacked with 150 crude bombs, and Batham wielding a rifle and a pistol, all 25 children escaped unscathed, thanks largely to the presence of mind of two teenagers who managed to stall Batham, snap the bomb-connecting wires, and lock the hostage-taker out of the bunker. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

Villagers gather outside the house of Subhash Batham, who had taken 25 children hostage and was later killed in police operation, at Karthia village, in Farrukhabad. Despite the house stacked with 150 crude bombs, and Batham wielding a rifle and a pistol, all 25 children escaped unscathed, thanks largely to the presence of mind of two teenagers who managed to stall Batham, snap the bomb-connecting wires, and lock the hostage-taker out of the bunker. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON FEB 04, 2020 07:44 PM IST
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A police team inspects Batham’s house. It was afternoon last Thursday when loud Punjabi songs blared from speakers at Batham’s house. Soon, he was out on the mud road outside to invite the village children for the “birthday” celebration of his daughter, who turned one six months earlier.“When I told Subhash his daughter’s birthday was celebrated just months ago, he laughed and said that it was actually his house-warming ceremony,” said 13-year-old Vineet Kateria. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

A police team inspects Batham’s house. It was afternoon last Thursday when loud Punjabi songs blared from speakers at Batham’s house. Soon, he was out on the mud road outside to invite the village children for the “birthday” celebration of his daughter, who turned one six months earlier.“When I told Subhash his daughter’s birthday was celebrated just months ago, he laughed and said that it was actually his house-warming ceremony,” said 13-year-old Vineet Kateria. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON FEB 04, 2020 07:44 PM IST
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When 37-year-old Subhash Batham walked out of jail early December after spending a month behind bars for an alleged jewellery theft, he had only one goal in mind: building a new house. Over the next few weeks, neighbours saw Batham and his wife, Ruby, toiling round-the-clock to construct a brick house consisting of a 8x10-feet bedroom without any windows, a slightly larger store room, and a mud backyard covered by an asbestos sheet. No mason or labourer was hired. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

When 37-year-old Subhash Batham walked out of jail early December after spending a month behind bars for an alleged jewellery theft, he had only one goal in mind: building a new house. Over the next few weeks, neighbours saw Batham and his wife, Ruby, toiling round-the-clock to construct a brick house consisting of a 8x10-feet bedroom without any windows, a slightly larger store room, and a mud backyard covered by an asbestos sheet. No mason or labourer was hired. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON FEB 04, 2020 07:44 PM IST
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An underground bunker is seen at Batham’s house. The older children were asked to hold the toddlers in their arms as they awkwardly descended into the dark lair using a rickety bamboo ladder. “The moment all of us climbed down in the bunker, he bolted the lid from above and stopped the music. He screamed to say that he wanted revenge for being framed in the theft,” said Akash Kateria, also 13. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

An underground bunker is seen at Batham’s house. The older children were asked to hold the toddlers in their arms as they awkwardly descended into the dark lair using a rickety bamboo ladder. “The moment all of us climbed down in the bunker, he bolted the lid from above and stopped the music. He screamed to say that he wanted revenge for being framed in the theft,” said Akash Kateria, also 13. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON FEB 04, 2020 07:44 PM IST
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Around 2.30pm, Babli Devi walked to the house to call her three kids home. “I found the red iron door locked from inside and Subhash screaming. He asked me to gather all the villagers and call the police. He said the children would be blown up if I didn’t listen to him,” said Babli. To make his intent clear, Batham allegedly fired a round through a tiny shaft under the main door but didn’t hit anyone. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

Around 2.30pm, Babli Devi walked to the house to call her three kids home. “I found the red iron door locked from inside and Subhash screaming. He asked me to gather all the villagers and call the police. He said the children would be blown up if I didn’t listen to him,” said Babli. To make his intent clear, Batham allegedly fired a round through a tiny shaft under the main door but didn’t hit anyone. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON FEB 04, 2020 07:44 PM IST
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Batham was born in a potter caste family and had four siblings – including a half-brother. His first brush with crime was in 1998 when he was booked under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The next year, he was named in a second caste-based atrocity case. “Two years later, he was arrested for burglary and jailed,” said Mishra. Soon after he was released from jail in that theft case, Subhash stabbed his distant uncle in 2001. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

Batham was born in a potter caste family and had four siblings – including a half-brother. His first brush with crime was in 1998 when he was booked under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The next year, he was named in a second caste-based atrocity case. “Two years later, he was arrested for burglary and jailed,” said Mishra. Soon after he was released from jail in that theft case, Subhash stabbed his distant uncle in 2001. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON FEB 04, 2020 07:44 PM IST
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District Magistrate along with the police team inspects Batham’s house. “I felt helpless and said that he was sinning. Subhash’s wife abused me in response,” said the head constable. Anil Mishra, superintendent of police (Farrukhabad), said the first call to the police control room was made at 4.20pm, upon which a group of policemen surrounded the house and took positions atop surrounding buildings. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

District Magistrate along with the police team inspects Batham’s house. “I felt helpless and said that he was sinning. Subhash’s wife abused me in response,” said the head constable. Anil Mishra, superintendent of police (Farrukhabad), said the first call to the police control room was made at 4.20pm, upon which a group of policemen surrounded the house and took positions atop surrounding buildings. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON FEB 04, 2020 07:44 PM IST
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Each gunshot outside triggered loud cries from the children inside. “It was a congested bunker and the gunshots would make us collapse on each other,” said Anjali Kashyap, a 15-year-old girl later hailed for her bravery. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

Each gunshot outside triggered loud cries from the children inside. “It was a congested bunker and the gunshots would make us collapse on each other,” said Anjali Kashyap, a 15-year-old girl later hailed for her bravery. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON FEB 04, 2020 07:44 PM IST
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Batham’s motives remain unclear. Vineet said he heard Batham name five villagers — including a local policeman – and asked them to be brought before him. “He said that these men had framed him in the recent theft case and that the policeman had beaten him up,” said Vineet. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

Batham’s motives remain unclear. Vineet said he heard Batham name five villagers — including a local policeman – and asked them to be brought before him. “He said that these men had framed him in the recent theft case and that the policeman had beaten him up,” said Vineet. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

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When villagers and policemen surrounded the home, among Batham’s first demands was to summon legislator Nagendra Singh. The MLA was at the spot in no time, but was cautious not to approach the door. “I stood next to the wall and asked Anupam Dubey to speak to Subhash,” said the MLA. As the night dragged on, the authorities kept Batham engaged. “If one topic got over, we would initiate another. Our aim was to tire him out,” said Singh. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

When villagers and policemen surrounded the home, among Batham’s first demands was to summon legislator Nagendra Singh. The MLA was at the spot in no time, but was cautious not to approach the door. “I stood next to the wall and asked Anupam Dubey to speak to Subhash,” said the MLA. As the night dragged on, the authorities kept Batham engaged. “If one topic got over, we would initiate another. Our aim was to tire him out,” said Singh. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON FEB 04, 2020 07:44 PM IST
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One police team kept the couple engrossed while another team planned to break open the rear door. “Around 1.30am, when the couple was tired and hopeless, we brought down the rear door. The couple tried to escape from the front door, but we captured Ruby. Subhash then hurled bombs and began firing at us while running back into the bedroom,” said Mishra. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

One police team kept the couple engrossed while another team planned to break open the rear door. “Around 1.30am, when the couple was tired and hopeless, we brought down the rear door. The couple tried to escape from the front door, but we captured Ruby. Subhash then hurled bombs and began firing at us while running back into the bedroom,” said Mishra. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON FEB 04, 2020 07:44 PM IST
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One of the policemen shot Batham in response, killing him on the spot. As Ruby was being escorted out by the police, the villagers moved to attack her. “The police told us that she was strapped with explosives, but the people wouldn’t listen. They beat her with stones and bricks. The police joined in the lynching,” said Rajani Kashyap. Mishra denied the charge. It remained unclear, however, how the police was unable to stop her being beaten to death. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

One of the policemen shot Batham in response, killing him on the spot. As Ruby was being escorted out by the police, the villagers moved to attack her. “The police told us that she was strapped with explosives, but the people wouldn’t listen. They beat her with stones and bricks. The police joined in the lynching,” said Rajani Kashyap. Mishra denied the charge. It remained unclear, however, how the police was unable to stop her being beaten to death. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON FEB 04, 2020 07:44 PM IST
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