Overseas student safety in spotlight after Indian postgrad murder

December 31, 2011

The murder of an Indian postgraduate student has prompted calls for a report to “reassure” overseas students over their safety in the UK.

Anuj Bidve, 23, who was studying micro-electronics at Lancaster University, was shot dead at point-blank range as he and a group of friends walked through Salford on their way to join the sales queues in Manchester.

Police are treating the killing as a “hate crime” based on “growing perceptions within the community that it was motivated by hate”. Five people have been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Speaking from Pune in India, Mr Bidve’s father, Subhash, has said the family is “clueless” over why he was murdered. “It happened in the UK which is considered safe for our students,” he said.

Labour MP Keith Vaz, chairman of House of Commons Home Affairs Committee, said:

“I will be asking for a full report on the circumstances of his death.

“Overseas students need to be reassured that the UK has taken every possible step to ensure such a tragic event will not happen again.”

Meanwhile, one website for Indians living abroad has published an article on “How Indians can avoid getting attacked in the UK”.

The UK remains one of the top foreign destinations for Indian students, with 38,550 studying here in 2009-10, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

Together with China, which has about 57,000 UK-based university students, India accounts for about a third of all non-EU students in Britain.

Another popular destination for Indian students, Australia, suffered a 46 per cent drop in applications from India after a spate of racist attacks in 2009.

About 4,000 students held a protest in central Melbourne in May 2009 to highlight a series of attacks on Indian students in the city, including the murder of 21-year-old student Nitin Garg, saying racist attacks were not investigated thoroughly enough by police.

Australian commentators have attributed some of the drop in applications to the widespread media coverage of the attacks in the Indian media, though they say tighter rules on student visas and post-study work were the primary reason.

jack.grove@tsleducation.com

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