Agencies /New Delhi
Five Indians were among the 50 worshippers killed in the Christchurch mosque attacks, with at least two others reported to be injured, officials said yesterday.
India’s High Commission in New Zealand confirmed the deaths in a tweet, following the devastating shootings at twin mosques in the normally peaceful city.
“With a very heavy heart we share the news of loss of precious lives of our 5 nationals in ghastly terror attack in Christchurch,” the High Commission in Wellington said.
Three of the dead from the mass shooting at Al Noor mosque were from Gujarat.
They were father and son victims Asif and Ramiz Vora, and 65-year-old retiree Mahboob Khokhar, who was visiting his son in Christchurch.
Ansi Karippakulam Alibava – a 25-year-old from Kerala, who had lived with her husband in Christchurch since last year as she studied for a masters – was also confirmed dead.
The fifth victim, Ozair Kadir, was an aspiring commercial pilot from Hyderabad.
An External Affairs Ministry official in New Delhi said that they are “in process of ascertaining information about all Indians affected by the terror attack”.
The official denied Indian media reports that claimed seven people were killed in the attack.
Desperate families in India have been trying to confirm the safety of their relatives after 28-year-old Australian white supremacist Brenton Tarrant allegedly launched his murderous rampage.
Mohsin Vora, the brother of Asif, said that they were initially told his brother and nephew were injured in the attack, before a family member identified their bodies when they flew to New Zealand.
Vora said his 56-year-old brother had gone to meet his new grandchild a month ago.
“I and (the) parents of Ramiz’s wife have been granted visas. We will be leaving for New Zealand soon,” Vora said.
Meanwhile, Khokhar’s son Imran, 27, he had dropped off his father at the Al Noor mosque and was still in the parking lot when he heard the screams.
He raced towards the mosque doors to reach his father, who was visiting him from India, when locals stopped him from getting close.
However, Imran has yet to get a glimpse of his father’s body, he told his elder brother Altaf, who lives in Surendranagar in Gujarat.
“Why am I not being allowed to see my father’s body?,” an agitated Imran told Altaf, 40, who spoke to Reuters via telephone.
Khokhar, 65, a retired area manager at a local state-owned power utility in Gujarat, was on his maiden visit to New Zealand with his wife to see their son, who had left India in 2010, Altaf said.
However, the local police had not confirmed Khokhar’s death to the family, Altaf said.
Imran and his mother were camping outside the hospital trying desperately to retrieve Khokhar’s body.
But there was no progress, they said.
“We saw his name on television but the police there are not telling us anything,” Altaf said.
Khokhar had been scheduled to fly back to India yesterday with his wife.
Altaf does not have a passport so cannot join his mother and his younger brother in New Zealand.
“Nothing is clear to us,” he said.
The Indian High Commission said that Immigration New Zealand has set up a dedicated webpage to expedite visas for family members of the victims.
The high commission had previously said it was trying to locate nine Indian individuals including two people of Indian origin.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote to his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern condemning the attacks and said hatred and violence had no place in diverse and democratic societies.
A white supremacist manifesto by the suspect, published online and sent to Ardern’s office minutes before the attack, characterised immigrants as “invaders” and singled out India, China and Turkey as “potential nation enemies in the East.”
Approximately 200,000 Indians and people of Indian origin live in New Zealand.
More than 30,000 of them are students, according to the High Commission website.
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
India imposes retaliatory tariffs on 28 US products
Niti Aayog sets up panel on water shortage, drought
Striking doctors reject Mamata’s call for talks
Bad weather hits efforts to retrieve bodies, says IAF
Seven die cleaning Indian hotel septic tank: police
Doctors to go on three-day strike over safety fears
Maoist rebels kill 5 policemen in eastern India
US ‘concerned’ over possible purchase of Russian S-400
BJP supporters, police clash in Kolkata over political killings