NATIONAL

Asha Parekh willing to appeal to abductors

MUMBAI, AUG. 7. Bollywood personalities have not received any messages regarding the Iraqi negotiator's request to Indian actors to appeal for the release of the three abducted truck drivers but veteran actress, Asha Parekh, has expressed her willingness to do so if it helped to end the 18-day-old hostage crisis.

The Iraqi negotiator, Sheikh Hisham Al-Dulaimi, had urged the super-star Amitabh Bachchan and other Bollywood actors to appeal to the kidnappers.

The Outlook magazine quoted Mr. Al-Dulaimi, a tribal leader negotiating the release of the seven hostages, including the three Indians, as saying that if actors such as Mr. Bachchan and Dharmendra made an appeal on television, the crisis would be over. When contacted here, Ms. Parekh said, ``Yes, I have come to know this news. My name has also been mentioned. But so far, no Government official has approached me to issue such an appeal.''

``However, if the Government approaches me, then I will definitely appeal to the abductors to free the Indian hostages. It will be a small duty from my side for my country,'' she said.

Mr. Al-Dulaimi described Asha Parekh as his favourite. ``If she calls me up herself, the hostages would be released today itself,'' he was quoted as saying.

Mr. Dharmendra was not available for comments as he was in the U.S. Sources in Mr. Bachchan's office here said that they had not received any message from the Government. ``If any message for appeal [to kidnappers] is received, it will be conveyed to Mr. Bachchan,'' they said.

— UNI

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