‘If I opened the door, he would've killed us’: 15yo says she helped 20+ kids survive Indian hostage horror by hiding in basement
A teenager, who together with two dozen other children was held hostage by an Indian man during a nine-hour standoff with police, said that her quick thinking helped to dodge certain death at the hands of a convicted killer.
The 15-year-old girl was the eldest of some 25 kids who were taken captive by convicted murderer Subhash Batham in a village in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday. The horrific case, which sent shock waves across India, ended with the man being shot dead by police. His wife, allegedly an accomplice in the grim enterprise, was stoned to death by an angry crowd.
The children, some of whom were as young as six months, were lured to the man’s house with the promise of a birthday party that Subhash said he was hosting for his daughter. It was a blatant lie, and when parents felt something fishy was going on and came banging on his door, they were met with gunfire and a crude bomb.
If not for one brave girl, the horror story may have ended in great tragedy. According to the Indian Express, she said that once all the children had arrived for the 'party,' the captor forced them into the basement, threatening to shoot them on the spot if they disobeyed his order.
The 15-year-old said that she tried to calm the youngsters down, telling them “if we die, we will die together.”
“I was not sure if saying such things would help, but it did,” she said.
As the smaller kids started to get hungry, she asked Subhash for food – which police then handed over to them. However, with the standoff continuing well into the night, the girl saw that the attacker was getting angrier and feared that he could go berserk any minute.
Then she decided it was time to act, and seized upon an opportunity created by the killer’s blunder. The girl said she understood that if she gave in at that moment, she and all the other kids would likely now be dead.
She said she unlocked the door only after police descended on the house, taking out the perpetrator.
It was somewhat of a miracle that all of the kids survived the ordeal, considering that the man was a convicted murderer, was embroiled in several lawsuits, and had his house stacked to the ceiling with weapons. His huge cache, it was later revealed, included some 145 crude bombs, a pistol, and a .315 rifle. A used cartridge for an AK-47 was also recovered.
“The number of bombs was... enough to kill everyone in a radius of 50 meters if they went off at once,” the Farrukhabad special operation task force observed, according to the Times of India.