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Keith Vaz to attend Salford student Anuj Bidve murder trial to support family

By Mihaela Ivantcheva

Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee Keith Vaz will attend the start of Anuj Bidve’s murder trial at Manchester Crown Court on Monday.

He will meet with the Bidve family, whom he has been in contact with since the death of their son on Boxing Day last year.

He welcomed the Bidve family to Parliament when they came to the UK in January to collect their son’s body.

Mr Vaz subsequently visited the family in Mumbai to hand over £1,000 (78,000 Indian Rupees) donations from members of the public and well-wishers. The donations were part of Anuj Bidve Memorial Fund that was set up following their son’s death.

In a bid to strengthen UK-India relations and encourage Indian students to make UK universities their destination of choice, Mr Vaz visited Mumbai, Goa and Delhi in February this year.

He said: “I am very concerned that the Bidves have all the support they need at this very difficult time. Greater Manchester Police have done an excellent job on this case. I am sure that this trial will be fair and an opportunity to allow the family closure.”

Mr Vaz wants to reassure overseas students that Britain is a safe place to live and study and raised the matter in person with the Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram.

Mr Vaz said: “It is vital that we send out the message that Britain is a safe place for foreign students. We have world-class universities, which continue to attract top talent from across the globe. This was a deeply tragic incident, but it was a one-off and international students should feel secure here.”

Mr Bidve, who was studying micro-electronics at Lancaster University, was shot in the head from a close range in the early hours on Boxing Day last year in what seems to be an unprovoked attack.

Kiaran Stapleton, 21, from Ordsall, Salford, admitted to the manslaughter of Anuj Bidve but denied murder at Manchester Crown Court on June 1.

The prosecution did not accept Stapleton’s manslaughter plea and he will be tried for murder. The trial starts on Monday and is expected to last three to four weeks.

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