THE Kashmiri separatists holding Blackburn student Paul Wells were today urged to free their hostages.

Blackburn MP Jack Straw's appeal came on the eve of the 24-year-old's 100th day in captivity.

Mr Straw said: "If the kidnappers have any sense and concern for their cause they will let the hostages go.

"This is a nightmare for Paul and his family and friends, which I am sure is being made worse by the continuing concern for his safety."

Police in the strife-torn state have said that the health of the Western hostages was worsening as the cold weather set in.

Authorities in Srinagar said they have not had contact with the Al-Faran guerillas since talks were abruptly broken off on September 19.

But Paul's father Bob, of Bracken Close, has spoken of his confidence that his beloved son will return home safe and well.

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