MADRAS, India (AP) -- A popular Indian film star kidnapped in July by a notorious bandit accused of 300 murders was released Wednesday, prompting joyous fans to set off fireworks in celebration.
Rajkumar's release came after months of tortuous negotiations between Veerappan, the outlawed bandit, and the state governments of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, the areas where most of his crimes were committed.
N. Karunanidhi, chief minister of Tamil Nadu, said Rakjumar was released early Wednesday and "informed me that he is hale and hearty." The statement said Rajkumar was in Erode, 280 miles northwest of Madras, the capital of Tamil Nadu.
It wasn't immediately clear why Veerappan, 56, had agreed to let Rajkumar, 72, go even though none of his demands had been met. Following the announcement, firecrackers burst in celebration in Bangalore, the Karnataka state capital.
The July 30 kidnapping of Rajkumar, a veteran of more than 200 Kannada-language movies, sparked violent strikes in the region as people demanded quick government action to free him.
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