Nine Indian-origin people in Christchurch go missing after mosque massacre: Envoy
Nine people of Indian origin are reportedly missing following the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch which left 49 people dead, according to Indian envoy to New Zealand Sanjiv Kohli, who cited updates received from multiple sources.
"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," he tweeted.
Earlier, Asaduddin Owaisi, the leader of All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen Party or AIMIM has said two Indians have died in the attacks, a third is battling for his life.
Owaisi sought help from foreign minister Sushma Swaraj for the brother of one of the victims. The family is from Hyderabad.
In a tweet, Owaisi said: "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."
"My son went to the mosque to offer Friday prayers. My son has not returned yet. About 17 people are still missing. Request government to find about the whereabouts and well being of my son," said Mohammed Sayeeduddin, father of Farhaj Ahsan who is missing since shootings in Christchurch.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed "deep shock and sadness" over the heinous terrorist attack in New Zealand while stressing India's strong condemnation of terrorism and of all those who support such acts of violence.
In a letter to Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern, Modi also underscored India's solidarity with the people of her country at this difficult time.
"Prime Minister has expressed his deep shock and sadness at the loss of scores of innocent lives in the heinous terrorist attack at the places of worship in Christchurch," the External Affairs Ministry said in an official release.
"The Prime Minister stressed India's strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and of all those who support such acts of violence. He stressed that hatred and violence have no place in diverse and democratic societies," it added.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi also termed it "a despicable act of terrorism".
He said the world stands in need of compassion and understanding and not bigotry and hate-filled extremism.
"The New Zealand Shooting is a despicable act of terrorism, that must be condemned unequivocally. The world stands in need of compassion and understanding. Not bigotry and hate filled extremism. My condolences to the families of the victims. My prayers go out to those who were injured," he said on Twitter.
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".
He livestreamed the dastardly act on Facebook. The video showed him repeatedly shooting at worshippers from close range.
The Facebook Live video, taken with a camera that appeared to be mounted on the gunman's body, shows a clean-shaven, Caucasian man with short hair driving to the Masjid al Noor mosque in central Christchurch. He enters the building and fires repeatedly at worshippers as he moves from room to room.
In the video, the shooter parks his car next to the mosque and gets out of the vehicle with a rifle. He slowly goes to the boot of his car and retrieves another firearm.
He then walks into the compound of the mosque and fires at a person standing near the doorway before dropping the rifle and shooting repeatedly with the second weapon as he moves inside.
The gunman fires dozens of bullets at people trying to run away or lying down in huddled groups in corners of the rooms.
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.