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‘9 Indians missing, 2 injured’ in New Zealand mosques shooting | India News

Nine Indian nationals or people of Indian origin were reported missing after attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, left 49 people dead on Friday. Unconfirmed reports mentioned that at least two Indian men had been injured.

The Indian high commission in New Zealand has set up 24×7 helpline numbers to offer assistance and information, official sources said. Families of those affected are being assisted in getting visas to New Zealand.

While high commissioner Sanjiv Kohli tweeted about nine missing persons who may be either Indian nationals or of Indian origin, official sources said they could not confirm the numbers or identities until “certain processes” were completed, given the sensitivities involved.

While no official confirmation was forthcoming, relatives of two men— Ahmed Iqbal Jahangir of Hyderabad and Mehboob Khokhar of Ahmedabad— said they had received news of their being injured. Jahangir owns a restaurant in Christchurch. Family members said they had been told he had undergone surgery but had no update.

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Mohd Ahmed Zubair, Jahangir’s brother-in-law, said he got to know about the incidents from Jahangir’s friends in New Zealand. He said he was not able to reach to his sister there.

The second person believed to be injured, 65-year-old Khokhar, is from the Juhapura area of Ahmedabad. A retired Gujarat Electricity Board employee, he had gone to New Zealand two months ago with his wife, Akhtar Begum, to meet his son, Imran, who lives in the Phillipstown suburb of Christchurch.

Khokhar’s son-in-law Hafiz, who also lives in Juhapura, said they feared for Khokhar’s life. “Imran told us that my father-in-law was wounded in the shooting at the Al Noor mosque,” Hafiz told TOI. Khokhar was rushed to hospital by the authorities but the family was not given details about his condition. Imran had gone to New Zealand in 2010 for higher studies and set up a courier and transport services company after his course.

PM Narendra Modi on Friday expressed “deep shock and sadness” at the terror attacks. In a statement issued by his office, he “stressed India’s strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and of all those who support such acts of violence.” In a letter to New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern, he underscored India’s solidarity at this difficult time.

Condemning the killings, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “The world stands in need of compassion & understanding. Not bigotry & hate filled extremism. My condolences to the families of the victims.”

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel tweeted, “What happened in New Zealand is a crime against humanity. It is a dangerous reminder that hatred & bigotry must be fought at every turn.”

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