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Bidve shooting: Cops make fifth arrest in UK

Last updated on: December 29, 2011 21:29 IST

A fifth youth has been arrested by the British police in connection with the killing of an Indian student in Manchester, as Indian authorities in London launched efforts to repatriate his body back to Pune at the earliest.

Anuj Bidve, 23, was shot dead by a gunman on Boxing Day at Salford Street, where local residents and leaders expressed disgust over the incident.

The Greater Manchester Police's Major Incident Team along with neighbourhood officers have launched an investigation and five people, one aged 16, two aged 17, one aged 19 and one aged 20 have been arrested on suspicion of murder and remain in police custody for questioning, a press release said. 

Chief Superintendent Kevin Mulligan, divisional commander for Salford, said, "Our deepest sympathies go out to Anuj's family in India who are going through the unimaginable trauma of losing Anuj in such a senseless and tragic way."

"There is a dedicated family liaison officer in regular contact with Anuj's family to keep them fully updated and we are working with the Indian High Commission and other agencies to expedite the family flying over to Manchester in the next few days," he said.

"We have not established a clear motive for the senseless murder of Anuj, and there is no definitive evidence pointing to it being racially-motivated. However, we are treating this as a hate crime based on the growing perceptions within the community," said Mulligan.

"Anuj's family deserve to see his killer brought to justice and I want people to think - what if it was my brother, son, husband or boyfriend who simply went out with friends and was killed? You would want justice and clearly that is what Anuj's family want, so please if you know where the gun is, or you do have information, be courageous and come forward. If you need to, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously," Mulligan added. 

A 20-year-old man was the fifth person arrested by the police which has already rounded up four people, including two teenagers. The man is being questioned on suspicion of murdering Bidve, who was shot in the head at close range in what was described as an "unprovoked" attack on December 26.

The Indian High Commission in the UK assured all possible help in expediting the process of repatriation of Bidve's body to India.

The Consulate General of India in Birmingham and the Indian High Commission said that they were "deeply" saddened at the "unfortunate" killing.

"The concerned authorities have also been suitably sensitised about the family's wish to have the dead body repatriated to India at the earliest," the High Commission said in a statement.

Friends of Pune-based Bidve have organised a candle light march on January 2 at the spot in Manchester where he was killed. Bidve was killed by a white man who shot him at point blank in the head.

Amid an outrage over the incident, a top British parliamentary panel will seek a full report on the circumstances of the attack. Labour Party Member of Parliament Keith Vaz, chairman of House of Commons Home Affairs Committee, expressed shock over the incident.

The killing sent shockwaves in the Indian student community, particularly those studying in Manchester, Lancaster and Salford. Parents of Indian students studying here were also reported to be worried about their wards.

Salford's City Council leader John Merry said, "We urge the community to unite and name the gunman whose actions brought shame on the city. When I heard about it I thought it was horrendous".

He added, "My biggest concern is the impact on this young man's family. The victim and his friends were just walking into town -- as many students would do at this time of the year. I feel too for the young man's friends who have witnessed this -- just imagine the trauma they are going through as well".

Local residents upset over the killing have also announced their participation in the January 2 March in the Ordsall area.

Norman Owen, leader of Salford's Liberal Democrats, said, "This is a disgrace. It is heartbreaking and unbelievable. What kind of city are we living in when we have a young man walking on the street with a gun and is ready to use it".

Local residents laid flowers at the spot while others sent condolence cards to Lancaster University, where Bidve was a postgraduate student of microelectronics.

One note on a bunch of flowers read, "We don't think living here will ever be the same. We send our condolences to your family and friends. We hope you don't blame us all".

Local resident Susan Wilson said, "This lovely young man has come here to further his education and people whose lives revolve around violence have killed him. For this to happen in our neighbourhood is devastating and we are all very upset about it".

She added, "It's like the whole country is looking at Ordsall now because of this. The area doesn't have a great reputation but we want people to know what has happened doesn't represent this area or the people living here".

Another neighbour, who did not want to give her name, told the local media, "It is sick what has happened -- absolutely disgusting".

Regular visitors at a pub near the site of the incident also condemned the violence.

One unnamed 77-year-old man said, "This is a very close-knit community. I really sympathise with this guy who has died. There is no control over the young people round here -- but that's no reflection on the older people who live here".

Prasun Sonwalkar in London
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