The sleepy town of Balangir in western Odisha witnessed a sensational police operation on Tuesday when a young man entered a house with a pistol and held the family hostage. It took nearly 50 policemen and rescue personnel five hours to bring an end to the hostage crisis.
Retired schoolteacher Madan Mohan Hota is relieved to find his wife and minor son safe and that the intruder was arrested. He said the intruder, in his late 20s identified as Bikram Panda, had put the pistol on his son’s head and threatened to kill him.
“It was a harrowing time for us, the worst in my life. I am grateful to police for rescuing us safely and nabbing the man,” said Hota, adding that the accused was in love with his niece and wanted her wedding, scheduled in the next few days, cancelled.
After Panda put the pistol on the boy’s head, Hota tried talking to him. In the meanwhile, the boy and his mother went into a room. A minute later, Panda entered the room and bolted the door from inside. Hota then called police and sought help. Panda kicked the door and was on the verge of breaking it when police arrived. He had also fired two rounds inside the house while threatening the family.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Toofan Bag and two other officers entered the house and tried to dissuade Panda from harming the family, but he did not listen. Two other policemen and firemen reached the second floor of the house and brought down the three hostages through a window. After the family was brought to safety, Bag and his team managed to overpower Panda and arrested him.
“It was a very difficult operation, but we planned and executed it well. We had to be very careful as a minor boy was involved. It is good that it ended without any loss of blood. The accused has been arrested,” said Balangir SP Kushalkar Nitin Dagudu.
Although police are yet to ascertain Panda’s motive behind this act, Hota said the youth had fallen for his niece when she lived in the house several months ago. Panda used to run a shop in the building. The girl currently lives in another town and is employed.