URGENT Police: Indian Hostage Released After 20 Months ...................................BULLETIN...............................

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ Police said Indian hostage Mithileshwar Singh was released Monday in west Beirut. Confirmation came 30 minutes after a Christian-controlled radio station said he was freed.(1601EDT) .............................................................................

Moslem kidnappers on Monday released Indian hostage Mithileshwar Singh after more than 20 months in captivity, police said. Syrian authorities who received him refused to confirm his identity immediately.

Singh, a resident alien of the United States, was set free at 10:05 p.m. (3:05 p.m. EDT) near the headquarters of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees in Beirut, said a police spokesman who demanded anonymity.

The reported release followed press reports that American hostage Alann Steen was about to be released.

Singh, 60, a finance professor, Steen and two other American teachers were kidnapped on Jan. 24, 1987 by gunmen posing as riot police at the campus of Beirut University College, where they taught.

Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for the kidnappings. Singh's reported release came five minutes after a deadline set by the group in a 36-word handwritten statement released earlier Monday to a Western news agency in Beirut.

In Damascus, the minister of state for foreign affairs, Nasser Qaddor, said that an American hostage had been released and was in Syrian hands. Qaddor would not reveal his identity, telling journalists to return to the foreign ministry at 9 a.m. Tuesday, (2 a.m. EDT) when the hostage would be handed over to the American ambassador.

Singh holds an Indian passport but also has an American green card, making him a legal resident alien in the United States.

In another statement released Saturday, the kidnappers said they would free one of the hostages as a goodwill gesture to the United States.

The group said the release was designed to stimulate U.S. support for the 10-month-old Palestinian uprising against Israel's military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza strip.

Steen, 49, a native of Boston, was professor of journalism at Beirut University College. His wife, 31, of Jackson, Mich., is a fine arts professor at the school.

The other hostages the group claims to hold are: Jesse Turner, 41, a native of Boise, Idaho, and a professor of mathematics and computer science; and Robert Polhill, 54, of New York City, professor of business and lecturer in accounting.

Nine Americans are missing in Lebanon. The longest held is Terry Anderson, the chief Middle East correspondent of The Associated Press. He was abducted March 16, 1985.