The wife of the man who took 23 children hostage in Uttar Pradesh’s Farrukhabad died of injuries after she was beaten up by locals, NDTV reported.
Indian Express, however, reported that the woman was killed in during the police operation to rescue the children.
Murder accused Subhash Batham, who was out on bail, had invited the children home on Thursday on the pretext of his daughter’s birthday and held them at gunpoint.
The children aged between six months and 15 years were held hostage for nearly eight hours, News18 reported.
Neighbours alerted the police after they knocked on Batham’s house to enquire after the children and he began shooting at them, according to NDTV.
Batham also shot at the police when they arrived.
Inspector General of Police, Kanpur Range, Mohit Agarwal, said, “The man called the children for a birthday party and held them hostage in the basement of the house. He fired six shots from inside the building.”
Batham initially wanted to talk to the local MLA, but refused to speak to the leader when he arrived, Agarwal said.
According to Indian Express, police said Batham also threw a crude bomb at people gathered outside.
After midnight, a police team stormed the house and Batham was killed in the attack.
“The accused was killed and there were about 23 children who were rescued safely,” Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi told reporters at a hurriedly called press conference at 1.20 am.
Director-General of Police (DGP) O P Singh said that in the entire operation they had tried to “engage” the accused and were successful.
He said the accused, identified as Subhash Batham, had initially released a six-month-old girl by handing her over to his neighbour from a balcony.
NDTV reports that his wife was dragged out by locals and beaten up. She was taken to hospital in a critical state and died on Friday morning.
PTI reported Batham’s wife had been injured during the exchange of fire with the police, while Express said she was killed in the operation.
None of the children were hurt.
The motive of the accused was not known immediately. Police said Batham, a murder accused, seemed to be mentally unstable, PTI reported.