A day after another student from Hyderabad was stabbed in an attack by unidentified assailants in London, visiting British Member of Parliament (MP) Keith Vaz handing over a cheque for Rs 78,000 (£1,000) to the family of slain Indian student Anuj Bidve on Saturday.
Vaz, an Indian-origin MP of the Labour Party, and chairman of the home affairs select committee, landed in Mumbai on Saturday as part of a three-city trip to strengthen UK-India relations.
Bidve, a student of Lancaster University, was shot at point black range in Manchester on December 26, Boxing Day, last year. Vaz had announced the setting up of a memorial fund in honour of Anuj in January. Donations were collected over the past four days.
“My meeting with the Bidve’s family went very well, they are lovely people and have been through terrible grief,” said Vaz. “We wanted to send out a message that the British public is behind them in their time of grief.” He added that Indian students in the UK need not worry, and that UK is “one of the safest countries in the world”.
Prospective students from here have also grown concerned about the stringent new visa conditions for those seeking to study in the UK. “We need to make it easier for people,” said Vaz. “The UK has one of the best education systems in the world.”
He did not have figures but said that the number of students coming to the UK had fallen since the new measures were announced. These include the cancellation of the two-year post-study work visa.
Vaz has been one of strong opponents to Dow Chemicals’ sponsorship of the 2012 Olympic games.
“The Olympic committee keeps hanging on to Dow, I don’t know why,” said Vaz. Dow ran the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal where a gas leak in 1984 killed thousands of people. Meredith Alexander, a commissioner for a body monitoring the Games, had resigned last month.