Anuj Bidve shooting treated as hate crime by police

Indian student shot dead on Boxing Day may have been victim of a racist hate crime, say detectives

The murder of an Indian student who was shot in the head at point-blank range on Boxing Day is being treated as a suspected racist hate crime, police have revealed.

Micro-electronics postgraduate Anuj Bidve, was murdered in the early hours of 26 December as he made his way with nine friends from his hotel in Salford to central Manchester to queue up early for Christmas sales.

Investigators say that although there is no specific evidence of the crime being racially motivated they are responding to those affected by the crime who believe it to be a hate crime.

Five people aged between 16 and 20 remain in police custody on suspicion of murder, including a 17-year-old who handed himself in to police on Tuesday evening, in what police have described as a fast-moving investigation.

Police have found no previous link between 23-year-old Bidve and those involved in the killing, believed to be two white males, which took place at 1.35am.

The "straight-A" student from Pune, India who was studying at Lancaster University, had a "very short conversation" with the two males before a gun was drawn and aimed at Bidve's head.

The gunman and his associate are thought to have fled to towards the Ordsall estate near the scene of another fatal shooting in September and which has been described by locals as rough.

A Home Office pathologist has confirmed that Bidve died after suffering gun trauma to the head.

Police also said they were working with the Indian high commission and other agencies to help fly the victim's family from India to Manchester in the next few days.

Chief Superintendent Kevin Mulligan, divisional commander for Salford, 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 it was motivated by hate.

"What I want to stress is that regardless of the motive, it does not change the way detectives from our major incident team are investigating this murder and from day one we have pursued every possible line of inquiry to identify who is responsible for this despicable crime, including CCTV trawls, detailed forensic and ballistic investigations, witness statements and house-to-house inquiries.

"Thanks to the work of staff across the whole of Greater Manchester police, we have made five arrests and all five remain in custody. I cannot comment for obvious reasons about the progress of the investigation but I would like to again take this opportunity to thank people in our community who have come forward and given us information. "

Police said they were duty bound to investigate crimes as hate crimes if they are reported as such. A police source added that the classification also allowed officers to pursue other avenues and leads which would not otherwise be open to them later on in the investigation.

Mulligan confirmed that no murder weapon has been recovered. "We really need that support to continue and I want to urge anyone who knows something to call us. As yet, we have not recovered the murder weapon and I want to implore people to be brave and come forward if they know the whereabouts of that weapon."

Dr Bharati Kar, the general secretary of the Greater Manchester Bengali and Hindu cultural association, said racism was far less of a problem now that it was two decades ago and that her own children had not reported any racist incidents to her recently.

Kar said that she was very pleased that Greater Manchester police were taking the reports that the crime was racially motivated seriously.

"I'll be glad if the actual cause is discovered [along with] the killer," she said.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, local resident Susan Wilson, 57, 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're all very upset about it. 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's happened doesn't represent this area or the people living here."


Shiv Malik

The GuardianTramp

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