The Indian envoy to New Zealand on Friday said at least nine persons of Indian nationality or origin have been listed missing after two incidents of shooting in Christchurch earlier in the day. Forty-nine people were killed and 48 injured after unidentified gunmen opened fire at two mosques in the city.
India’s High Commissioner to New Zealand Sanjiv Kohli said authorities were still waiting for official confirmation on the number of Indians missing. “Huge crime against humanity. Our prayers [are] with their families,” he said in a tweet.
The Indian High Commission in New Zealand urged those needing assistance to contact it and tweeted two phone numbers.
All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen Party President Asaduddin Owaisi said, citing a video, that an Indian called Ahmed Jehangir had been shot at in the incident. Owaisi requested several authorities on Twitter, including the Ministry of External Affairs and Sushma Swaraj, to make necessary arrangements for the family to travel to New Zealand.
Khurshid Jehangir confirmed that his brother, Ahmed Jehangir, was injured in the shooting and was recovering after undergoing surgery. He added that the family was trying to contact the embassy, ANI reported.
Khurshid Jehangir said they had been unable to get proper information. “I request the government to help me to get a visa so I can travel to New Zealand to take care of my brother,” he said.
Owaisi said another person of Indian origin, Farhaj Ahsan, was also reported missing after the shooting. His family was also based in Hyderabad.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the High Commission is in contact with local authorities for more information, PTI reported. “Our mission is in touch with local authorities to ascertain more details,” he told reporters in New Delhi. “It is a sensitive matter and, therefore, we can’t give confirmed numbers/names till we are absolutely certain.”
Approximately 2 lakh Indians and people of Indian origin live in New Zealand.
PM expresses shock
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday expressed his deep shock and sadness at the killings. In a letter to his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern, Modi emphasised India’s strong condemnation of terrorism and of those supporting such acts of violence.
The first shooting took place at the Al Noor mosque, and the second at the Linwood Masjid. One of the gunmen shot a video as he carried out the attack. As many as 41 people died at the first mosque, and seven at the other. One person died in hospital.
A 28-year-old man has been charged with murder and will appear in court on Saturday morning. Two others who were arrested earlier in the day remain in custody – one of them is an Australian-born citizen.