Five Indians among 50 killed in terror attack at New Zealand’s Christchurch; victims hailed from Gujarat, Telangana, Kerala

Christchurch: At least five Indians, including three from Gujarat have died in Friday’s terror attacks at two mosques in Christchurch, the Indian High Commission in New Zealand said on Sunday. The High Commission further informed that two Indian nationals and two persons of Indian origin injured in the attack were receiving medical treatment.

The Indian mission put out on its official Twitter handle the names of the five Indian nationals — Maheboob Khokhar, Ramiz Vora, Aarif Vora, Ansi Alibava and Ozair Kadir. “With a very heavy heart we share the news of loss of precious lives of our 5 nationals in ghastly terror attack in #Christchurch — Mr Maheboob Khokhar, Mr Ramiz Vora, Mr Asif Vora, Ms Ansi Alibava, Mr Ozair Kadir, @kohli_sanjiv @MEAIndia @SushmaSwaraj,” the High Commission said tagging External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Indian High Commissioner to New Zealand Sanjiv Kohli and MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.

“We have been pursuing with NZ auth (sic) whereabouts of 9 Indians, incl 2 PIOs; 2 indians receiving treatment. Following up with NZ Govt for others. Also r (sic) in regular touch with their families,” the High Commission further said.

Five Indians among 50 killed in terror attack at New Zealand’s Christchurch; victims hailed from Gujarat, Telangana, Kerala
Witness to the terror attack said a number of people were killed in the terror attack. AP

A socio-cultural organisation for the Indian community in New Zealand, the Indian Social and Cultural Hub of Christchurch (ISCC) put out descriptions of those who were killed in the terror attack.

Ozair Kadir a 25-year-old from Hyderabad was a student of the Aviation College and an aspiring commercial pilot. Ansi Karippakulam Alibava, 25, from Kodungalloor, Kerala and a Masters student from Lincoln University leaves behind her husband. Farhaj Ashan aged 30, leaves behind his wife Insha Aziz, his three-year-old daughter and seven-month-old son. He had left home on Friday morning for prayer.

Ramiz Vora and his father Aarif Vora from Vadodara in Gujarat also succumbed to their injuries, the organisation said on its social media page. Meanwhile, according to reports Maheboob Khokhar, 63, hailed from Ahmedabad. The Indian mission also shared two helpline numbers for assistance and expressed their condolences over the deaths of 50 people killed in the twin attacks.

“Our helpline numbers (021803899 & 021850033) will remain available round the clock to assist families as we together cope with our shared grief. We deeply mourn loss of all other innocent lives including people of Indian origin,” it said in a tweet. “Immigration NZ has set up a dedicated page to expedite visa for family members of Christchurch victims,” another tweet stated.

Earlier, at least nine Indian nationals or people of Indian origin were feared missing in New Zealand following the deadly terror attacks at Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch, unofficial sources said on Friday.

Swaraj had condemned the dastardly terror attack and put out the helpline numbers of the Indian High Commission in New Zealand tagging High Commissioner Sanjiv Kohli for Indians requiring assistance.

The death toll in Friday’s terror attacks at two mosques in Christchurch rose to 50 with victims ranging in age from two years to over 60 years, New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said on Sunday. Earlier, police had said that 49 people were killed in the twin attacks.

He informed that 50 people were wounded in the mass shootings. Giving out details of those injured, Bush said that 36 of them are undergoing treatment at Christchurch Hospital and three persons, including a child, remain critical at Auckland’s Starship Hospital, New Zealand Herald reported.

The country’s police chief also confirmed that Brenton Harrison Tarrant, the 28-year-old Australian-born suspect was the sole attacker who carried out the Friday’s attacks at the two mosques in the city. Tarrant, who appeared before a Christchurch court on murder charges on Saturday, was remanded in custody without plea until 5 April.

The terror attack suspect, who live-streamed for about 17 minutes his rampage through two mosques in the city, is an Australian-born citizen and is a resident of Dunedin, situated around 360 kilometres south of Christchurch.

Condemning the terror strike, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern had described the attack as “one of New Zealand’s darkest days” and said it “appears to have been well planned”. She asserted that the country “will not and cannot be shaken” by the attack. Ardern underlined that the country’s gun laws will undergo changes and become stricter.

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