Bidve killing: UK varsities seek to limit damage

British universities moved to limit the adverse impact of Anuj Bidve`s killing by reassuring Indian students.

London: British universities on Thursday moved to
limit the adverse impact of Anuj Bidve`s gruesome killing by
reassuring Indian students about their safety and security
here, amid reports of drop in applications from India at UK

The killing of 23-year-old Bidve in Salford on December
26 has caused much concern among Indian parents whose wards
are studying here or are considering applying to courses from
the next academic year starting September-October 2012.

There are already reports of a 20 per cent drop in
applications from India at some UK universities.
Like Bidve, a large percentage of Indian students
studying in the UK are postgraduate students.

Official estimates put the contribution of Indian and other
international students at 5 billion pounds to the UK economy
Referring to the Bidve killing, Professor Eric Thomas,
president of Universities UK, told PTI: "We at Universities UK
would want to reassure current and future Indian students and
their parents that this kind of incident is thankfully
exceptionally rare."

He said compared to other countries, the UK remains a
safe and tolerant country with low levels of violence and
street crime.
Prof Thomas recalled that a recent survey by the British
Council showed that only a very small proportion of students
had ever experienced any kind of crime here.

The drop in applications is being attributed to changes
to the student visa system, mainly the scrapping of the
`Post-Study Work Visa` from April 2012, which is popular with
self-financing Indian students who seek to recover some of the
expenses of their course by working here for two years after
the course is completed.

Indian students are the second largest international
group (after China) in UK universities, numbering 38,500 in
the year 2009-10, according to figures from the Higher
Education Statistics Agency (HESA).
Lancaster University, where Bidve was enrolled, has moved
quickly to extend support to his family and friends, which has
been welcomed by India`s Consul in Birmingham, R R Swain.

In an environment of deep funding cuts, the income
generated by universities from Indian and other international
students is considered vital to ensure the sustainability of
many university departments.
So far, international students paid at least three times
more tuition fees than those applicable to British/EU

However, this will change from September-October 2012
when British/EU students will also see their fees rise
substantially. Speaking on behalf of all universities in the UK, Prof
Thomas expressed "deep sadness at the death of Anuj Bidve."
He said it was a "devastating tragedy" for his family and
friends and the death of a gifted individual in such a manner
is a loss for us all".

He said the British people have been appalled by this
terrible event and Monday night`s vigil bore witness to
national and local feeling.
"The police are investigating the murder and we are
confident that they will bring the perpetrators to justice,"
he said.

The organization said that UK universities took the
safety and well-being of all students very seriously.
Institutions offer induction and orientation sessions for
international students which include advice on safety.
The British Council also publishes an online personal
safety guide for international students in the UK, it

With 133 members and offices in London, Cardiff and
Edinburgh, Universities UK promotes the strength and success
of UK universities nationally and internationally.