At least nine people of Indian nationality or Indian origin are missing after the terror attacks on two Christchurch mosques, Indian envoy to New Zealand Sanjiv Kohli tweeted, citing 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.
At least 49 worshippers were killed in attacks on the Al Noor Mosque in central Christchurch and the Linwood Mosque in the city's outer suburb, in what appeared to be the worst attack against Muslims in a western country.
In New Delhi, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that India’s High Commission in New Zealand is in touch with local authorities for more information.
“Our mission is in touch with local authorities to ascertain more details. It is a sensitive matter and therefore we can’t give confirmed numbers/names till we are absolutely certain,” he said.
India’s High Commission said that any Indian national affected by the attacks on two Christchurch mosques can contact the mission for assistance.
Expressing shock over the incident, the mission tweeted two contact numbers 021803899 and 021850033 for providing assistance.
“We are shocked to hear about the shooting in Christchurch. Any Indians needing assistance should contact us at 021803899 or 021850033,” the Twitter account of the Indian High Commission in New Zealand said.
“Our prayers go out to everyone who is affected. Help us spread the word. Stay safe!!” it said.
Witnesses spoke of victims being shot at close range, with women and children also 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".
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.
(With inputs from agencies)