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British police fly to visit murdered Indian's family


British police officers were flying to India on Sunday to meet with the family of an Indian student shot dead as he walked through Manchester, the local constabulary said.

Anuj Bidve, a 23-year-old postgraduate student, was shot in the head at close range early Monday in Salford as he walked into Manchester city centre with Indian friends.

The murder in Britain's third city is being treated by detectives as a "hate crime" which may have been racially motivated.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) have offered a £50,000 (ê78,000, 60,000 euros) reward for information.

Subhash Bidve, the student's father, has been critical of the British and Indian authorities as he found out about his son's death by reading a post on a social networking website, before officers were able to contact him.

Chief Superintendent Russ Jackson, a senior GMP officer, plus a specially trained family liaison officer who deals with bereaved families, were flying out to India to meet the Bidve family and representatives from the Indian authorities.

"Our family liaison officers are in regular contact with Anuj's family but passing information and updates over the phone is not the best way to communicate in such difficult and tragic circumstances," said GMP Assistant Chief Constable Dawn Copley.

She said it was important "to have someone from the force meet with Anuj's family at the earliest opportunity and help support them at this time.

"Having conversations face-to-face is absolutely the right thing to do. We will, of course, also provide whatever support we can throughout the family's forthcoming trip to the UK."

Five people have been arrested in connection with the shooting.

On Saturday, a 19-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder was bailed until the end of March.

Three others, a 16-year-old boy and two 17-year-old boys, were earlier released on bail pending further inquiries.

A 20-year-old man remains in police custody for questioning.

Bidve, from the western Indian city of Pune, was studying micro-electronics at Lancaster University in northwest England and had been on a short break in nearby Manchester with eight Indian friends when he was shot.

Police said the students were walking from their hotel towards the city centre when they became aware of two men on the other side of the street.

A white male walked across the road and after a brief conversation with the victim produced a gun and shot him at close range, before running off. Bidve died in hospital a short time later.

Detective Chief Superintendent Mary Doyle, who is leading the investigation, said it was "an extremely unusual, savage and motiveless attack, an absolutely horrific crime".