Updated: Wednesday, 1st July 2020 @ 4:56pm

‘We don’t blame the people of the city’: Family of Indian student Anuj Bidve say ‘last prayer’ at site of Salford shooting

‘We don’t blame the people of the city’: Family of Indian student Anuj Bidve say ‘last prayer’ at site of Salford shooting

Words and photos by Karen Regn

Video by Paul Berentzen & Karen Regn

The parents of an Indian student shot and killed on a Salford street on Boxing Day visited the site to pray and lay flowers today. 

After a brief visit to the Salford hotel where Anuj and his friends were staying on their visit to Manchester, Subhash and Yogini Bidve arrived on Ordsall Lane, where father Subhash spoke to the media about his son, describing him as ‘humble’ and ‘very disciplined’. 

“As you can imagine this has been an exceedingly difficult journey to make,” he said.

The family commented that traveling to England had been important for them. “We would like to see where Anuj was shot – to pray here the last prayer,” said Mr Bidve.

“We do not blame the people of the city for what happened,” he said. “The only person we blame is the man responsible for taking Anuj away from us in such a senseless act of violence.”

Mr Bidve said the family had confidence in the British justice system and were pleased with the progress of the investigation. 

“We pray to God that justice will come to Anuj,” he added.

He expressed the family’s gratitude toward people from Salford and Lancaster and members of the Indian community for their support.When asked if the Bidves would consider a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron, he responded that if Cameron were to ask they would 'definitely look forward to meeting him'.

Anuj’s mother and brother-in-law stood close as questions were answered, before Mr Bidve ended by saying: “The world is finished for us ­– that is all I can say.” 

The family asked for a private moment away from cameras and the media to pay their respects, in which they lit incense and bent in prayer. Mrs Bidve removed her sandals as she came close to lay a bouquet of carnations beside her son’s photograph.

They took time to read a number of the cards laid by mourners. 

One card read: “We send our condolences to your family and friends and hope you don’t blame us all”. Another read: “his life was unfairly taken when he still had so much to offer”. 

A third read: “The shock waves from this senseless tragedy were felt around the world. Rest in peace.”

A wreath was laid by a representative from the Consulate General of India in Birmingham as well as bouquets of flowers laid by GMP Assistant Chief Constable Dawn Copley and Barbara Spicer, chief executive of Salford City Council. 

The Bidves were accompanied by Pete Rickards, chief family liaison for the GMP, and were joined at the site by Chief Superintendent Russ Jackson. Both officials had gone to India to meet the Bidves and flew back with them to the UK.  “We have tried to provide as much support as we can in this difficult time for the Bidve family,” said a spokesperson from the GMP.

A tribute to Anuj at the Salford site on Monday was attended by hundreds. The family arrived in the UK on Wednesday and yesterday visited Parliament, where they met with Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee.

After leaving the site today, the family is scheduled to visit the town hall in Salford and meet people from the investigation and councillors from Salford City Council before returning to London and then flying to India. They plan to take the body of Anuj with them, and are expected to hold a funeral and bury their son in their home town of Pune.

Kiaran Stapleton, 20, has been accused of Anuj Bidve’s murder, and appeared at magistrates’ Court on Monday and in crown court on Wednesday via videolink from prison.  He has been remanded in custody until his case management hearing on 20 March.