NEW DELHI: Nine Indians or persons of Indian-origin are missing following Friday's terror attack on two mosques in New Zealand`s Christchurch which left 49 dead and more than 20 injured.
Hyderabad-based Ahmed Iqbal Jahangi, who runs a restaurant, is one of several injured in the deadly mass shooting. He's currently recovering in hospital. His family has requested the Centre to expedite the visa access process.
"As per updates received from multiple sources, there are 9 missing persons of indian nationality/origin. Official confirmation still awaited. Huge crime against humanity. Our prayers with their families," High Commissioner Sanjiv Kohli said, as reported by news agency IANS.
"My deep gratitude to members of the community in Christchurch who are working through the night to get updates for us on the victims of today`s dastardly attack. Cant be a better example than this of dedication and solidarity."
Reaching out to the Indian community, The Indian High Commission in New Zealand tweeted, "We are shocked to hear about the shooting in Christchurch. Any Indians needing assistance should contact us at 021803899 or 021850033.”
We are shocked to hear about the shooting in #Christchurch Any Indians needing assistance should contact us at 021803899 or 021850033. @indianweekender @indiannewslink @MEAIndia @IndianDiplomacy @WIAWellington @kohli_sanjiv @BhavDhillonnz
— India in New Zealand (@IndiainNZ) March 15, 2019
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed deep “shock and sadness at the loss of scores of innocent lives in the heinous terrorist attack at the places of worship in Christchurch today.”
Nearly two lakh Indians and Indian-origin people live in New Zealand. There are over 30,000 Indian students in the country, according to the Indian High Commission's data on its website.
At least 49 worshippers were killed in attacks on the Al Noor Mosque in central Christchurch and the Linwood Mosque in the city's outer suburb. The incident has been termed as the worst-ever incident of shooting in New Zealand. Recalling the horrific incident, eyewitnesses say a man dressed in black opened fire on people praying inside the mosques.
A 28-year-old white Australian man claimed the responsibility for the shootings and left a 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto explaining the reasoning for the attack. The entire shooting was livestreamed online in a 17-minute video.
Calling the entire episode a terror attack, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the gunman as "an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist".
New Zealand Police has taken four persons – three men and a woman – into custody following the shootings. One of the suspects was later charged with murder.