Anuj Bidve’s parents visit street where Indian student was murdered
The parents of a student who was shot dead in the early hours of Boxing Day in Manchester have visited the place where their son was killed to pay a solemn tribute to him.
“The world is finished for us – that is all I can say,” Anuj Bidve’s father, Subhash, said on a bitterly cold January morning as he tried to describe what it felt like to trace his son’s last steps from the hotel where the young man had stayed with friends.
He and his wife, Yogini, had travelled from their home in Pune, India to lay flowers at the scene of the murder before taking the student’s body home.
On Friday, it emerged that the family may meet the prime minister during his visit to a Salford hospital, although the meeting has not yet been confirmed.
Mr Bidve said he would keep the memories in his mind for the rest of his life. His wife dabbed at her nose with a handkerchief as he spoke.
Their only son, a 23-year-old postgraduate engineering student at Lancaster University, died after being shot in the head as he and other Indian students walked through Ordsall Lane in Salford.
Kiaran Stapleton, 20, of Ordsall has been charged with the murder and remanded in custody.
Anuj Bidve had previously been described by his father as “really straightforward, very disciplined, very softly spoken and very friendly to everyone, and a very good son to me”.
The murder scene is close to a site where new flats are being built. The place where he fell has become a makeshift shrine, with messages of support, cellophane-wrapped bouquets of chrysanthemums and candles and tealights flickering in the breeze. There is also a large framed photo of Anuj Bidve on holiday in the Lake District.
Earlier this week, hundreds of people attended a candlelit vigil after residents expressed their horror about what had happened.
It is less than a mile from the skyscrapers of Manchester’s city centre and its landmark Beetham Tower.
The Bidve family were accompanied on their visit by dignitaries from the consulate general of India in Birmingham.
They were greeted by Ch Supt Russ Jackson of Greater Manchester police, who had previously travelled to India to meet the family, plus assistant chief constable Dawn Copley and Barbara Spicer, the chief executive of Salford city council.
During a prayer ceremony, the family placed a bottle of water from the river Ganges by the flowers and burned incense. They prayed for Anuj’s soul should rest in peace.
Subhash Bidve said: “We have made the journey from India in order to see Anuj, see the place where he died, and most importantly, take Anuj home with us.
“Whilst in England, we have taken the opportunity to meet a number of other people who were involved in Anuj’s life and to achieve our goal of taking Anuj back home with us as soon as possible.
“As you can imagine, this has been an exceedingly difficult journey to make.
“When Anuj left India in September last year he was full of hope and ambition for the future. We were all so proud of him.
“Anuj was our only son and we cannot comprehend this dreadful tragedy.
“We do not blame the people of this city for what happened. The only person we blame is the man responsible for taking Anuj away from us in such a senseless act of violence on Boxing Day morning.”
He said he and his wife had been “deeply moved” and have taken comfort from the hundreds of messages received from the people of Salford and Lancaster – especially the Indian community – and he thanked them.
“We have been overwhelmed by the reaction and interest of the media both at home in India and here in the UK.”
The family’s dismay with police for being slow to contact them following their son’s death – and the fact they found out about it through the social networking site Facebook – was not mentioned.
Subhash Bidve added: “We would like to thank the police for the manner in which this investigation has been conducted.”
He added that they are confident in the British justice system “and sincerely hope that this will eventually bring justice for Anuj”.
On Thursday, the family met Keith Vaz, the chairman of the parliamentary home affairs select committee, at Westminster after arriving on Wednesday.
At Ordsall Lane, many tributes expressed the anger and sense of tragedy felt. One read: “Rest in peace Anuj – unlike your murderer who will rot in hell.”
Another said: “The shockwaves from this senseless tragedy were felt all over the world. My deepest sympathy – may you find peace now and continue your life’s journey.”
One tribute called for the return of the death penalty. Others referred to the “evil and mindless people” who took Anuj’s life away for nothing and wrote of being “saddened and sickened at this senseless act”.
The saddest tribute came from Mr and Mrs Bidve. It simply said: “To our dearest son Anuj. From Mummy and Papa and our family.”
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