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9 Indian-Origin People Missing After Terror Attacks on New Zealand Mosques: Envoy

The ministry of external affairs, however, said the High Commission in New Zealand was still ascertaining more details about the possibility of Indians being affected by the terror attacks and refused to give out any number.

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Updated:March 15, 2019, 7:20 PM IST
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9 Indian-Origin People Missing After Terror Attacks on New Zealand Mosques: Envoy
Members of a family react outside the mosque following a shooting at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 15, 2019. (REUTERS)
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New Delhi: At least nine people of Indian origin are reporting to be missing after the terror attack at two Christchurch mosques, Indian envoy to New Zealand Sanjiv Kohli has tweeted, citing updates received from multiple sources.

The High Commissioner said an official confirmation of the number of Indian missing is still awaited, and called the mass shooting a huge crime against humanity.

Forty nine people have been reported killed so far, and 20 others have been seriously injured in the attack on Al Noor Mosque in central Christchurch and the Linwood Mosque in the city's outer suburb, in what appeared to be the worst attack on Muslims in a western country.

But the nationalities of all the victims is still not clear. The police has taken four suspects – three men and a women – into custody.

The Indian high commission has been contacted by friends and families over missing persons. The list of nine names is based on local contacts and hospital sources. A clear picture about the victims are only likely on Saturday, as per sources.

The ministry of external affairs, however, said the High Commission in New Zealand was still ascertaining more details about the possibility of Indians being affected by the terror attacks and refused to give out any number.

It urged the community to contact the mission for any assistance.

"Our mission is in touch with local authorities to ascertain more details. It is a sensitive matter and therefore we can't give confirmed numbers/names till we are absolutely certain," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

Meanwhile, Hyderabad native Ahmed Iqbal Jahangir was confirmed to be one victim after MP Asaduddin Owaisi, said that he was shot at in the incident.

The family of Ahmed, who ran a restaurant in Christchurch, has appealed to the central and the Telangana government to expedite the visa process of his brother, Mohammed Khursheed, so that he can travel to New Zealand and be at the side of his brother as he undergoes treatment.

India's High Commission said that any Indian national affected by the attacks on two Christchurch mosques can contact the mission for assistance. Expressing shock over the incident, the mission tweeted two contact numbers 021803899 and 021850033 for providing assistance.

"We are shocked to hear about the shooting in Christchurch. Any Indians needing assistance should contact us at 021803899 or 021850033," the Twitter account of the Indian High Commission in New Zealand said.

"Our prayers go out to everyone who is affected. Help us spread the word. Stay safe!!" it said.

Witnesses said that victims being shot at close range, with women and children believed to be among those killed.

The gunman at one mosque was an Australian-born citizen, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in Sydney, describing him as "an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist".

Approximately 200,000 Indian 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.
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