Manchester

Anuj Bidve killing: Candlelit vigils held in Salford and New Delhi

A candlelit vigil has been held in Salford for Indian student Anuj Bidve who was shot dead in the early hours of Boxing Day.

Hundreds of people gathered on Ordsall Lane to remember the 23-year-old at the place where he was killed.

Earlier, friends of the Lancaster University student held a similar vigil in New Delhi.

A 20-year-old man, Kiaran Stapleton of Salford, has been charged with Mr Bidve's murder.

Mr Bidve was shot in the head at close range as he walked with friends from their hotel on their way to the city centre.

'Salford's good side'

Julie Harper, 34, from Ordsall was at the vigil in Salford with her 16-year-old daughter Montell.

She said the incident had left local people "shocked".

Anuj Bidve was shot at close range

"Ordsall people are nice people," she said. "I just don't think the action of one person should be allowed to change that."

As prayers were said for Mr Bidve, members of Manchester's Indian community also lit candles in memory of the student who had travelled to the UK to study.

Dr Sibi Joseph said he had come from Kerala in India to Manchester nine years ago and felt it was important to be at the vigil.

"We wanted to be here because it is a great opportunity to show our unity and fraternity," he said.

Manchester is a "wonderful city", he said, but added that many foreign students were unaware of the dangers of life in the UK.

"When they come here, they think that England is a safe place," he said.

"But when you hear this sort of incident, it makes you feel that our lives are unsafe at the moment."

Mark Butler, 44, had come from Worsley with his wife Caroline, 33, to be at the vigil.

He agreed that Mr Bidve's killing had shocked the city and said he wanted his seven-year-old daughter Charlotte to see Salford's good side.

"People have been talking about this non-stop since it happened and it's important to show her that not everyone is like that," he said.

'Super-caring'

Mr Bidve, who was a postgraduate student in micro-electronics, was visiting Greater Manchester with friends over the festive period when he was killed.

Many people at the vigil said they had been shocked by the killing

His family described him as a "loving son, a super-caring brother and first and forever a friend for many".

Ch Supt Russ Jackson, of Greater Manchester Police, and a family liaison officer have travelled to Pune to speak to Mr Bidve's family.

The family had criticised the force for the delay in telling them of Mr Bidve's death, which meant they first heard the news on Facebook.

They have also been critical about the length of time it is taking for his body to be released to the family.

Greater Manchester Police said it regretted the fact the family heard about Mr Bidve's death on Facebook. It also said it was working with the coroner to ensure Mr Bidve's body was returned as soon as possible.

Five people have been arrested in connection with Mr Bidve's death.

Three have been bailed until March 2012 pending further inquiries. A fourth man, aged 19, who was originally bailed on Saturday has since had his "bail cancelled", police said.

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