5 Indians Among 50 Dead in New Zealand Mosque Terror Attack
Five Indians were among the 50 people killed in the terror attacks on two mosques in New Zealand's Christchurch on Friday, 15 March, India’s High Commission confirmed on Sunday.
The High Commission of India has set up a dedicated page to expedite visas for the family members of the victims from Friday’s deadly terror attack on the Al Noor mosque.
The Twitter handle of the High Commission had earlier tweeted out the names of the five Indians killed in the attack – Maheboob Khokhar, Ramiz Vora, Asif Vora, Ansi Alibava and Ozair Kadir.
Catch all the live updates on the New Zealand mosque terror attack here.
The 58-year-old Arif Vora and his son Ramiz Vora, 30, were praying at Al-Noor mosque when the white supremacists opened fire.
The duo hailed from Panigate area of Gujarat’s Vadodara. According to Mohsin, Arif’s younger brother, after the shootout he could not locate the whereabouts of his brother and nephew.
Mohsin has left for New Zealand to collect his kin’s bodies. Arif’s elder son Rahil who lives in Australia had rushed to Christchurch to identify the bodies.
The 65-year-old Mehboob Khokhar was a resident of Juhapura Ahmedabad was visiting his son Imran in New Zealand for the first time in 9 years.
Two Indian-origin people Mohammad Juned Kara (38) and Hafiz Musa Vali Patel also lost their lives in the attack.
Kara hailed from Gujarat’s Adada village of Navsari and relocated to New Zealand years ago. He was a citizen of New Zealand and an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI).
Hafiz Musa Vali Patel, 52, was an NRI who hailed from Luvara village from Bharuch.
On Saturday, India’s High Commission in the country said it has been pursuing information on the whereabouts of seven Indian nationals and two Indian-origin persons from the local authorities.
“Two Indian nationals receiving treatment. Following up with NZ government [on] status of others. Also are in regular touch with their families [sic],” India’s High Commissioner to New Zealand Sanjiv Kohli said on Saturday, 16 March.
A day earlier, Kohli had said that “there are nine missing persons of Indian nationality/origin.”
“Official confirmation still awaited,” he had added.
The terror attack that left 50 people dead on Thursday took place at two mosques – the Al Noor Mosque in central Christchurch and the Linwood Mosque in the city’s suburbs.
The attacker, identified as Australia-born Brenton Tarrant, 28, reportedly targeted immigrants during Friday prayers. Witnesses said victims were shot at close range.
In New Delhi, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said on Friday that India's High Commission in New Zealand is in touch with local authorities for more information.
India's High Commission had said that any Indian national affected by the attacks on two Christchurch mosques can contact the mission for assistance.
The mission had tweeted two contact numbers – 021803899 and 021850033 – for providing assistance.
‘My Brother Was Shot in the Back, Is In a Critical Condition’
Speaking to ANI on Saturday, Haji Ali Patel, the brother of one of the people who was killed in the attack, said:
Reports claimed that a native of Hyderabad, Ahmed Iqbal Jahangir, was also shot at in the terror attack. However, it is yet to be ascertained whether Ahmed is among the missing Indians.
According to The News Minute, Mohammed Khursheed Jahangir, his brother, had said on Friday:
“He (Ahmed) has been in New Zealand for almost 12 years now and he owns a restaurant which offers Hyderabadi cuisine. He went for his Friday prayers. Two of his friends were killed in the attack. My brother himself is struggling for his life.”
Khursheed further said that his family has not been able to get any “proper news” and are requesting assistance from the government.
Another person who was said to be missing on Friday was Farhaj Ashan, an engineer from Hyderabad.
Mohammed Sayeeduddin, father of Farhaj Ahsan, told ANI that his son had been missing since he went to the mosque to offer Friday prayers.
"My son has not returned yet. About 17 people are still missing. We are requesting the government to find about the whereabouts and well-being of my son," he had said on Friday.