Indian student's murder to be treated as racially motivated

In a significant shift in their line of investigation, police on Thursday announced that the murder of Indian university student Anuj Bidve by a white gunman in Salford, Greater Manchester, earlier this week was now being treated as a racially motivated hate crime though they insisted there was still no direct evidence to establish a "clear motive".

Until now, police had ruled out racist motive treating it as one of the many possibilities.

Chief Supt Kevin Mulligan, leading the investigation, said the decision was taken on the basis of "concerns and perceptions" in the community.

"We have not established a clear motive for the senseless murder of Anuj and there is no definitive evidence or information available suggesting this was racially motivated. However, because of concerns in the community and perceptions in the community we are going to great it as hate crime," he said as as one more person was arrested bringing the number of arrests to five, including four teenagers.

Police maintained that nothing was said during a brief exchange between the gunman and the victim before the murder to suggest a racial motive. The new line of investigation was revealed after a woman who had attended on Anuj while he lay dying insisted that he was killed solely because of the colour of his skin.

"It's very racial. It was obvious they (Bidve and his friends) were foreign. If they were white it may not have happened. They may have been chosen because they looked different—vulnerable and very different. I don’t think they’d do it to a group of white youths. Salford is not very multicultural. There are areas that are no-go areas; estates you don’t go on," said Sheetal Patel, a local cakemaker who was flagged down by Anuj’s friends as she was driving past the spot where he was shot.

The 23-year-old postgraduate micro-electronics student at Lancaster University was in Manchester with his friends over Christmas when around 1.35 a.m. on Boxing Day the group was accosted by two white men in their 20s . One of them shot Anuj in the head after reportedly asking him for time. The area where the murder took place has a history of petty crime and witnessed several shootings in recent months.

The murder weapon which the police believe was a "small handgun of some type" has still not been recovered. Appealing for information, Mr. Mulligan 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, so please if you know where the gun is, or you do have information, be courageous and come forward."

Police would "leave no stone unturned to find those responsible for this awful crime," he said.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 11:34:04 PM |

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