City tarred by ‘shame’ over fatal shooting of student

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The fatal shooting of an Indian student has brought “shame” on the city where he was gunned down, a council chief has said.

Anuj Bidve, 23, was shot at point-blank range as he walked with friends near their hotel in Salford, Greater Manchester, in the early hours of Boxing Day.

Police investigating the shooting have arrested a 16-year-old boy, two boys aged 17 and a 19-year-old man on suspicion of murder.

Norman Owen, leader of Salford’s Liberal Democrats, yesterday said: “I am really concerned. If you look at the history over the last three or four years we have had some severe shootings in this city.

“We are being dragged down by this issue and the police have got to get into gun crime,” said Mr Owen.

Asked if he thought this shooting had brought shame on the city, he responded: “It does. This city is trying to drive itself forward in many ways.”

But he said Salford needed to “rid itself” of the gun “culture” and work with police, parents and schools to address it.

Police said a 16-year-old boy and 17-year-old boy were arrested yesterday on suspicion of murder.

A third teenager, also 17, handed himself into a police station at about 10.30pm on Tuesday night and was arrested on suspicion of murder.

In the early hours of yesterday a fourth man, 19, was also arrested on suspicion of murder.

All four males are being questioned and remained in police custody last night.

Chief Superintendent Kevin Mulligan, divisional commander for Salford, said yesterday: “This is a fast moving investigation and we now have four people in custody.

“It is important we do not speculate on the possible motives for this murder.

A large police presence, including armed officers, were on patrol in the Ordsall area yesterday, action that will continue over the next few days, officers said.

Tributes have been left on Facebook, including one page set up by a fellow Lancaster student which plans a “peace march” in the young man’s memory.

According to the page, set up by Sonakshi Saran, Mr Bidve “was killed for not answering a simple question – ‘What’s the time?’”

Greater Manchester Police have not disclosed what was said during the short conversation between the killer and his victim.

Speaking from Mr Bidve’s home town of Pune in Maharashtra on Tuesday, Rakesh Sonawane, 30, who is married to the student’s sister Nehal, said the devastated family had “lost faith in everything”.

Mr Bidve arrived in the UK in September after completing an electronics degree at Pune University.

“Anuj had been very happy. It was his dream to go to the UK but unfortunately his dream could not last longer than three months,” Mr Sonawane said.

He added that his brother-in-law had planned to return to India “to serve his nation” following his postgraduate studies in Lancaster.

Mr Bidve was described as “clever and sporty”, and a fan of football, supporting Manchester United.

Mr Sonawane added that the family have received lots of messages of support, especially from the Indian student community in Lancaster where Mr Bidve was studying for a micro-electronics postgraduate qualification.

They have spoken to some of those who were with Mr Bidve when he was killed and said the eight other students have now returned to the university.

Mr Bidve was in a group of nine male and female Indian students visiting Manchester for a short break over Christmas.

The student’s father, Subhash, a branch manager with an energy company, has called on the UK Government to speed up the process of returning his son’s body to his home country.