Hyderabad/Thrissur (Kerala), March 16 (IANS) Two men from Telangana and a woman post-graduate student from Kerala’s Thrissur were among the 49 people killed in Friday’s terror attacks on two mosques in New Zealand’s Christchurch, while the whereabouts of at least two visitors from Gujarat were not known.
The shootings – the first fatal terror attack in the South Pacific island nation in many decades, was allegedly carried out by Brenton Tarrant, 28, who was charged with murder at a court in Christchurch on Saturday.
Ancy Ali, a 25-year-old married woman from Kerala’s Thrissur, was among the victims, the Kerala Police said.
Ancy, who had migrated to New Zealand with her husband Abdul Nassar last year, lived near the mosques that were attacked, an officer at the Kodungalloor police station in Thrissur told IANS.
Ancy was doing her post-graduation in Christchurch where her husband was working, the officer said.
“We received news from the Special Branch that a woman from here was injured in the shooting. We have now received the news that she has passed away,” said the officer who did not wish to be named.
Software engineer Farhaj Aslan, who was reported missing following the attacks, was confirmed dead, his family in Hyderabad said on Saturday.
“We have received information that my brother was killed in the attack,” his elder brother Kashif Ahsan told IANS.
The 31-year-old’s father Mohammed Sayeeduddin and mother Imtiaz Fatima, who were hoping to hear some good news about his son, were inconsolable.
Grieving family members huddled in a corner at the family’s house in Nadeem Colony of Toli Chowki area after the family received the shocking news. Relatives and friends were pouring in to console the family.
Authorities in Christchurch informed Ahsan’s wife Insha Aziz and her uncle, who rushed from Australia, about his death. They were at a hospital in Christchurch, waiting for some information since morning.
Ahsan was at Al Noor mosque for Friday prayers when the terrorist opened indiscriminate fire on worshippers. A father of seven-year-old son and two-year-old daughter, he used to regularly offer Friday prayers at Al Noor mosque as he lives in a nearby neighbourhood.
Another man from Karimnagar town of Telangana was also killed in the attack. Mohammad Imran Khan fell to the bullets at the mosque, according to information reaching his relatives in Karimnagar.
Imran, whose family was settled in the US, was engaged in some business in New Zealand for last few years. He was also at Al Noor mosque for Friday prayers when the gunman opened fire.
Imran Khan’s uncle Manzoor Ahmed Khan received information from his brother’s family in US about his death in the Christchurch shootout. The relatives also identified him from one of the pictures on social media.
Meanwhile, another man from Hyderabad who was injured in the terror attack was recovering.
Ahmed Iqbal Jehangir, who was at the same mosque, sustained bullet injuries in his chest and shoulder.
“Alhamdulillah (all thanks to Allah)! He is out of danger and recovering,” his brother Mohammed Khursheed Jehangir told IANS here on Saturday.
According to information received by Khursheed, a surgery was performed on Ahmed at a hospital in Christchurch to remove a bullet.
Ahmed, settled in New Zealand for 15 years, runs a Hyderabadi food restaurant near Al Noor mosque. His wife and children who stay in the same neighbourhood were safe.
Khursheed plans to leave for New Zealand to see his brother.
Officials in Gujarat said that there was no word about some people from the state who were understood to be visiting Christchurch and they were awaiting a response from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
According to unconfirmed sources, at least four visitors from Gujarat were present at the two mosques in Christchurch when the shootings took place.
Mehboob Khokhar, a retired employee of the Gujarat Electricity Board (GEB) and a resident of Ahmedabad’s Juhapura, had gone to one of the mosques to offer Friday prayers.
“After the attack in the mosque at Al Noor, my brother-in-law Imran and my mother-in-law Begum Akhtar rushed to the hospitals. But we still don’t know whether Khokhar is admitted somewhere or is still missing. We have not received any confirmation from the New Zealand authorities yet,” said Hafiz Patni, the son-in-law of Khokhar, who’s also a resident of Juhapura.
It is also believed that a father-son duo from Anand were also present at one of the two mosques when the attack took place.