Five Indians dead in New Zealand mosque attack, toll rises to 50

The high commission confirmed on Sunday that five Indians were killed in the attack.

Published: 17th March 2019 08:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th March 2019 08:48 AM   |  A+A-

A girl walk to lay flowers on a wall at the Botanical Gardens in Christchurch, New Zealand, Sunday, March 17, 2019. (Photo: AP)

By Online Desk

WELLINGTON:  Five Indians were among the 50 people killed by a white supremacist, who opened fire on worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, in the worst attack on Muslims in New Zealand, the Indian High Commission said Sunday.

The attacker, identified by authorities as Australia-born Brenton Tarrant, 28, reportedly targeted immigrants during Friday prayers.

Witnesses said victims were shot at close range.

The high commission confirmed on Sunday that five Indians were killed in the attack.

"With a very heavy heart we share the news of loss of precious lives of our 5 nationals in ghastly terror attack in #Christchurch," it tweeted.

It identified them as: Maheboob Khokhar; Ramiz Vora; Asif Vora; Ansi Alibava; and Ozair Kadir.

In another tweet later, the high commission informed that Immigration NZ has set up a dedicated webpage to expedite visa for family members of Christchurch victims.

On Friday, shortly after the attack, India's High Commissioner in New Zealand Sanjiv Kohli had tweeted that "there are 9 missing persons of Indian nationality/origin". Adding, official confirmation was awaited.

Expressing India's solidarity with the people of New Zealand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said hatred and violence have no place in diverse and democratic societies.

About 200,000 Indian and Indian-origin people live in New Zealand.

Over 30,000 of them are students, according to the Indian High Commission's data available on its website.

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Meanwhile, the number of the injured people from the terror attacks stood at 50, and 36 of them were still being treated in Christchurch Hospital, with two remaining in intensive care unit and one child at a children's hospital, Xinhua reported citing the police.

For the time being, 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant was charged with murder. The terror suspect appeared briefly in the Christchurch District Court on Saturday.

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The charging document showed the maximum penalty will be life imprisonment. He will be in custody until April 5, according to the High Court in Christchurch.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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