Christchurch, March 19 (IANS) New Zealand police on Tuesday announced that post-mortems of all 50 people who were killed in the March 15 carnage in Christchurch mosques have been completed, with six of the bodies returned to their families.
In a statement, the police said that only 12 victims have been identified so far, The New Zealand Herald reported.
“While identification may seem straightforward, the reality is much more complex, particularly in a situation like this,” the statement said.
“Our absolute priority is to get this right and ensure that no mistakes are made.
“We are doing all we can to undertake this work as quickly as possible and return the victims to their loved ones,” it added.
Frustrations have been rising among the victims’ families as they wait for their loved ones’ bodies to be returned to them.
Islamic religious law usually calls for the body to be washed and shrouded in white cloth before being buried within 24 hours of death.
However, many are still waiting for the police to finish their investigations.
“Normally we shouldn’t wait too long to bury, but in this case they’re still taking time,” Mohammed Bilal, whose cousin Syed Areeb Ahmen was killed, told The New Zealand Herald.
“It’s hard, especially for Syed’s family in Pakistan. He was the only son. It’s really hard for the parents. We have to wait. It’s the Government process. They have to (accept that),” Bilal added.
On Tuesday morning, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that she will never mention the name of the lone gunman who carried out the shootings in order to deprive him of the notoriety he was looking for, and instead “speak the names of those who are lost”.