Racism not ruled out in Indian student’s killing

December 30th, 2011 - 7:05 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 30 (IANS) The killing of 23-year-old Indian student Anuj Bidve in Britain is being treated by police as a “hate crime”, after a woman who reportedly held the victim’s hand as he lay dying said it appeared to have been “very racial”.

Bidve, from Pune in India’s Maharashtra state, was shot dead in a street in Salford, Greater Manchester, in the early hours of Boxing Day, Dec 26.

Police said a 20-year-old man has been was arrested, while a 16-year-old boy, two aged 17 and a 19-year-old man remain in custody, Sky News reported.

Bidve was approached by a stranger and shot in the head at close range as he walked with friends near their hotel.

Police said the Indian students had not been drinking.

Though they have not been able to establish any clear motive for the killing, police said they could not rule out the possibility that he was targeted purely because of his race, according to the Telegraph.

Sheetal Patel, who reportedly held Bidve’s hand as he lay dying said the killing appeared to have been “very racial”.

Patel, a cake-maker from Altrincham, told the Telegraph it was “obvious” Bidve and his friends were foreign, and might not have been killed had he been white.

Chief superintendent Kevin Mulligan of Greater Manchester Police said he was treating the murder as a hate crime because of “growing perceptions in the community”.

“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 it was motivated by hate,” Mulligan was quoted as saying.

Bidve, a postgraduate microelectronics student at Lancaster University, was staying in Greater Manchester with friends over the Christmas holidays.

A white man in his 20s and wearing a grey top, reportedly said a few words to Bidve and opened fire before fleeing on foot.

“What we are saying is we do not know whether it’s racially motivated or not. But by definition we need to treat any incident of this kind where there is a perception that race is involved or hate is involved and categorise it as a hate incident,” said Mulligan.

“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,” he said.

“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,” he said.

Anuj Bidve’s father Subhash said his family was “really worried” about the repatriation of the body of his son.

“The last four days we have been feeling so much trauma because we are yet to know when Anuj can come back. We are really worried. All family members are worried about it. Everyone at home, they are all shattered and waiting for his remains to do all religious things,” Subhash Bidve told BBC Radio 5 live.

Bidve described his son as “so humble, very brilliant, a very nice guy”.

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