The tragedy in Salford

by jguiver on 04/01/2012

By now most people in the UK will have learned about the shooting of an Indian student in Salford which took place in the early hours of 26 December.  Anuj Bidve, 23, was walking with some friends when he was apparently approached by a man who then shot him.  A horribly similar incident took place on Christmas Day, at nearly the same time on the west coast of Canada, when 27-year-old Indian student Alok Gupta was shot dead as he was working at a local convenience store.

These would have been tragic events no matter who was shot – whether they were Indian students, Chinese students, American students, or British students.  But because of the racially motivated attacks against Indian students in Australia in 2009, Indians are bound to feel as though they are being deliberately targeted the world over.  Just glance through a few of the reader comments on any number of online news sites, and it’s clear that feeling prevails:  “Anuj Bidve’s murder raises safety issues of Indian students abroad once again….” or “How Indians can avoid getting attacked in the UK….”

Tens of thousands of Indian students arrive in the UK each year to study at our universities.  India is hugely important to UK institutions, not only for the students it sends, but also for the research partnerships and faculty exchanges it provides.  The tragedy in Salford is no more or no less tragic than any number of murders which took place over the Christmas holidays (and, sadly, there were quite a few).  But as international student recruiters who rely heavily on student recruitment from India, we should be thinking about the potential repercussions of this one.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Danny January 4, 2012 at 3:47 pm

It is a very tragic incident and it shows how one bad apple can spoil the bunch. I was watching the reaction spread online and it shows how even one isolated incident can have a ripple effect across the world instantly.

One of the comments I saw was from a girl in Singapore that said “If racism is problematic in the UK, I don’t think I wanna study in the UK in the future if it means I’ll be victimised since I’m a Muslim.” There were similar comments that echoed her sentiment. These incidents not only affect Indian students but other minorities as well.

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jguiver January 4, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Absolutely. And people often don’t get the whole picture/story and then form negative perceptions about a place or people that simply aren’t true, ie. the girl from Singapore. She may not realize that there are many Muslims in the UK already and that this was an isolated, if horrific, incident.

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Andrew Fisher January 4, 2012 at 1:41 pm

That ‘how Indians can avoid’ piece you link too is really outstanding.
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jguiver January 4, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Hmmm…yes, I thought it very interesting and well-written.

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Andrew Fisher January 5, 2012 at 9:15 am

I’m not sure I agreed with every word, but what really struck me was how measured it was in the face of such a horrible crime, when a comment like the one Danny quotes is – although a bit frustrating for us Brits who feel unfairly judged by it – so human and understandable in the context.
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