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29 December 2011, 08:35
The shooting of an Indian student has brought "shame'' on the Manchester city where he was gunned down, a council chief has said.
Anuj Bidve, 23, was shot at point-blank range as he walked with friends near their hotel in Salford in the early hours of Boxing Day.
Norman Owen, leader of Salford's Liberal Democrats, said: "I am really concerned. If you look at the history over the last three or four years we have had some severe shootings in this city, We are being dragged down by this issue and the police have got to get into gun crime,'' said Mr Owen.
Asked if he thought this shooting had brought shame on the city, he responded: "It does. This city is trying to drive itself forward in many ways.'' But he said Salford needed to "rid itself'' of the gun "culture'' and work with police, parents and schools to address it.
Police said a 16-year-old boy and 17-year-old boy were arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of murder. A third teenager, also 17, handed himself into a police station later in the day and was arrested on suspicion of murder. In the early hours of Thursday a fourth man, 19, was also arrested on suspicion of murder. All four males are being questioned and remain in police custody.
Chief Superintendent Kevin Mulligan, divisional commander for Salford, said: "This is a fast moving investigation and we now have four people in custody. It is important we do not speculate on the possible motives for this murder. However, I would still appeal to anyone who has information about the murder to come forward. While we have made arrests, this is just the beginning of our investigation and we need people to come forward with anything they know.''
Mr Bidve was in a group of nine male and female Indian students visiting Manchester for a short break over the Christmas holidays. Police said the students, who had not been drinking, were walking from their hotel towards the city centre and became aware of two men on the other side of the street.
The gunman, a white male in his 20s who was wearing a grey top, walked across the road and engaged the victim in a short conversation before producing the gun and shooting the student at close range in the side of the head. Mr Bidve, described by his family as a "loving son'', collapsed to the ground and died in hospital a short time later.
Tributes have been left on Facebook, including one page set up by a fellow Lancaster student which plans a ``peace march'' in the young man's memory. According to the page, set up by Sonakshi Saran, Mr Bidve ``was killed for not answering a simple question - 'What's the time?''' Greater Manchester Police have not disclosed what was said during the short conversation between the killer and his victim.
Mr Bidve, who was described as "clever and sporty'' arrived in the UK in September after completing an electronics degree at Pune University. His family said he planned to return to India following his postgraduate studies in Lancaster. Anyone with information is asked to call the incident room on 0161 856 5448 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.