Indians missing in Mosque massacre: MEA in touch with New Zealand authorities

CHRIST CHURCH:India’s High Commission in New Zealand was ascertaining details about the possibility of Indians being affected in the Christchurch attacks amidst unconfirmed reports that nine Indian nationals were missing after the shootings.

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, in what appeared to be the worst attack on Muslims in a western country.

In New Delhi, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that India’s High Commission in New Zealand is in touch with local authorities for more information.

“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,” he said.

When asked about the unconfirmed reports suggesting that nine Indians are missing after the shootings, a Indian High Commission official in Wellington told over phone that a team of the Indian mission was in contact with the local authorities to find out details about Indians.

The unconfirmed reports emerged after the unverified Twitter account of India’s High Commissioner in New Zealand Sanjiv Kohli tweeted that there are nine missing persons of Indian nationality/origin.

“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,” according to Kohli’s unverified Twitter handle.

Meanwhile, MP Asaduddin Owaisi, President of All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen Party, said that an Indian has been shot at in the incident.

“A video from #ChristChurch shows one Ahmed Jehangir who was shot. His brother Iqbal Jehangir is a resident of Hyderabad & would like to go to NZ for Ahmed’s family.

“I request @KTRTRS @TelanganaCMO @MEAIndia @SushmaSwaraj to make necessary arrangements for the Khursheed family,” he said in a tweet.

“These are Mr. Khursheed’s passport details. His brother is serious & his family has little support. I’m only requesting the immediate support of your good offices in expediting his visa process. He’ll make all arrangements to travel to NZ by himself,” Owaisi said in a other tweet.

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.