Slain student family seeks early possession of body

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Pune: Despite assurances from the UK and Indian authorities, the grieving parents of slain city student Anuj Bidve are still running from pillar to post to expedite repatriation of his body awaiting a second post mortem in Manchester where he became a victim of an apparent hate crime.

Still in a state of shock following the killing of the 23-year-old who left the city about three months back to study at Lancaster University, the Bidve family met Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan when he was here on Thursday and appealed to him to intervene to speed up the procedural matters to ensure an early possession of the body for traditional last rites.

The family came to know about the tragedy through a comment posted on the Facebook by Bidve`s friends in the UK. Christmas holidays in Britain are delaying the procedural formalities in respect of the murder probe and other matters. "We are trying to contact External Affairs Minister S M Krishna in order to expedite the proceedings to get Anuj`s body back in Pune," said Rakesh Sonawane, brother-in-law of Anuj, releasing a copy of an open letter to Krishna.

Sonawane, interacting with media here on Friday night, said that a second post mortem would be conducted on the body as per the British laws only if the Manchester Police complete the probe to file a case this week.

"As per the UK Government rules, a second post mortem of the body is mandatory before it is sent to Pune. Christmas holidays have resulted in a staff shortage and, therefore, we are requesting the Greater Manchester police and the Coroner to complete the second post mortem, which is done by a private lab, as early as possible," Sonawane added.

The Chief Minister assured the bereaved family, which has applied for an emergency visa as per advice given by the Consulate General of India in Birmingham, that he would take up the matter with the External Affairs Ministry. Anuj`s father Subhash and brother-in-law, who are preparing to leave for Britain (they expect to get visa today), said they would also go to Lancaster University to claim his belongings.

Meanwhile, many Indians, foreigners and non-resident Indians continued to post messages of grief on the social networking site Facebook condoling the death of a young man who had gone abroad to fulfil his dream of pursuing higher studies.

"I am deeply ashamed that such a terrible crime has been committed against an innocent young man who was looking forward to attend university in this country," said a message from Somerset-based Lesley Mcintyre, who extended her condolences to the family and friends of Bidve, who was studying micro-electronics at Lancaster.

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