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HindustanTimes Wed,01 Oct 2014

Indian killed for not giving time of day in UK

Yogesh Joshi & Dipankar De Sarkar, Hindustan Times  Pune/London, December 28, 2011
First Published: 00:00 IST(28/12/2011) | Last Updated: 02:13 IST(28/12/2011)

Soccer fan and local boy, Anuj Bidve, 23, wanted to spend his Christmas holidays in Manchester, UK, so he could visit the stadium of his dreams - Etihad Stadium.

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But Bidve's dream was cut short when an unidentified man shot him in the head on Christmas night as he was strolling down Salford in Great Manchester with his friends.
 
Barely three months ago, Bidve had enrolled for the microelectronics post-graduate programme at the Lancaster University. 

"Anuj spoke to me on Sunday and he was very excited about his visit to Manchester," said his inconsolable father Subhash Bidve, a former Air Force official who now works for a private firm.

The British police claimed to have arrested a 17-year-old boy for Bidve's murder, but his family was disappointed in the authorities.

"We got to know about the incident through Facebook. After that we tried in vain to get in touch with the UK police. Seven hours later we were informed about my son's death," said Subhash Bidve.

The family is clueless about the motive.

"We are clueless. It is equally disturbing that it happened in the UK, which we consider safe for our students," said the father.

'Expedite probe'
The family has urged Indian and UK authorities to expedite the investigation and help them bring their son's body to India soon.

Bidve's brother-in-law Rakesh Sonawane told HT the UK police, citing vacations and preliminary investigation, had sought three to four weeks to send the body back.
 
Bidve and eight others had just come out of their hotel, when two men walked up to them at around 1.35am. There was a "very brief" conversation between Bidve and one of the men, who then whipped out a gun and shot Bidve in the head. He died later in hospital.

Manchester-based Sheetal Patel, who was driving by, had stopped to help.

"I was there within three minutes of the incident and he was still alive. It took way too long for the police to respond," Patel told HT.

"They even advised us, 'next time you see something like this just drive past'," said Patel, who is mobilising funds for Bidve's body to be sent to Pune.

Sonakshi Saran of Lancaster University's India Society wrote on a Facebook page that she has set up for Bidve: "He was killed for not answering a simple question - what's the time? Did he deserve this? Did his family deserve such pain and loss?"

Racial motive?
The UK police have not ruled out a racial motive. However, such unprovoked attacks are practically unheard of in Britain.

"It's hard to make sense of," a university official said.

A spokesman for the Indian High Commission said the mission would extend all assistance.

"We have spoken to Anuj's parents and we will not be found wanting for any help," he said, adding the consulate general in Birmingham was liaising with the local police.


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