Four Indians — one from Hyderabad, a woman from Kerala and two from Gujarat—were among those killed in the Christchurch terror attack in New Zealand on Saturday, their families confirmed to TOI on Saturday. Three others who are confirmed dead were of Indian origin, from Gujarat and Telangana.
The family of 30-year-old software engineer from Hyderabad, Fahraj Ahsan, confirmed he was among the 49 victims identified on Saturday as authorities began shifting the bodies after a preliminary investigation. Ahsan was born in Warangal, according to his passport details. His father lives at Mehdipatnam and his in-laws at Dilsukhnagar. Ahsan had been living in Christchurch with wife Insha Aziz and two children— a three-year-old daughter and a seven-month-old son.
A 25-year-old woman from Kerala’s Thrissur district, Ancia Alibava, was also among the victims. Ancia was among the worshippers along with her husband Thrivallur Ponnath Abdul Nazar when the terrorist opened fire. Ancia, who was in the women’s section, died while Nazar managed to escape. The distraught family rued they had no official information yet either from New Zealand authorities or from the Indian government.
Ancia’s relatives in Kodungallur said Nazar informed them of her death on phone on Saturday evening. The relatives had earlier been told she was injured in the indiscriminate firing. Family sources said it was not yet clear whether her body would be brought to Kodungallur. “We are yet to receive an official information on the incident from New Zealand authorities or from the Indian government,” a family member said.
Four Gujaratis, including a father-son duo from Vadodara, an NRI from Bharuch and an Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) with roots in Navsari, were among the victims killed by the Australian terrorist.
Arif Vohra and his son Rameez Vohra from Vadodara, who were reported missing after the shooting at the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on Friday were declared dead on Saturday. Initial reports had indicated that they were missing and family members were making desperate attempts to locate them. Arif’s elder son Rahil, who lives in Australia, rushed to Christchurch and later confirmed that Arif and Rameez had died in the attack. He informed the family members in Vadodara about the duo’s death.
Another victim of the terror attack was Hafiz Musa Vali Patel (52), a native of Luvara village of Bharuch district. He succumbed to his injuries in hospital after 20 hours of treatment. An Indian origin man with roots in Navsari town of south Gujarat was also killed in the shooting.
The other Indian-origin man with roots in Karimnagar district of Telangana killed in the attack was Mohammed Imran Khan (47), who fell to bullets at Linwood mosque. He was seen in a video of the attack and it is how his family in shock identified him. Authorities confirmed that Khan had died. His relatives in Karimnagar said his father had moved to the US several years ago. Khan was the only son and has four sisters.
Meanwhile, Ahmed Iqbal Jahangir of Hyderabad who was shot at in the mosque shootings and admitted to a hospital in Christchurch was operated upon for the second time. “He is out of danger,” a family member in Hyderabad told TOI. Family members of Fahraj Ahsan, Mohammed Imran Khan and Ahmed Iqbal Jahangir are travelling to New Zealand.
Fahraj Ahsan’s family in Hyderabad said they were tense from the time they learnt of the attack in the mosque as they knew he had gone there for Friday prayers. He could also not be traced in hospital among those injured. The family learnt of his death through friends. “We are aware of the death but have also been waiting for an official confirmation,” a family member told TOI.
Fahraj’s name was listed among those missing in the International Red Cross website. Fahraj graduated as an engineer in electronics and communications from Osmania University and pursued his masters in Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand and stayed on there.
Kerala’s Ancia, a BTech degree holder in agriculture, and her husband had moved to New Zealand soon after her wedding 14 months ago. Nazar had been working in West Asia earlier, but found a part-time job in New Zealand. Niyaz, Ancia’s cousin, said she was continuing her education there besides taking up a part-time job.
In Vadodara, sources said Rameez’s wife had delivered a baby girl only a few days ago. She was to be discharged from the hospital on Friday. Arif and Rameez decided to complete the discharge formalities after attending prayers at the mosque, but became victims of the shootout.
The Vohra family lives in Dhanani Park in the Memon Colony area of Vadodara. Arif had gone to New Zealand about a month ago with his wife Rukhsana. Rameez had shifted to New Zealand for studies some years ago and then settled in Christchurch.
Family members of the victims approached Vadodara MP Ranjan Bhatt to ensure visas to New Zealand at the earliest. Arif’s brother Mohsin Vohra and the parents of Rameez’s wife were granted visas on Saturday and were to go to New Zealand soon.
The Indian origin man with roots in Navsari of south Gujarat who was also killed was identified as Junaid Kara (38), a New Zealand national. Junaid’s family is originally from Adada village of Navsari. They had migrated to New Zealand several years ago. Junaid’s death was confirmed by their distant relatives in Adada village of Navsari on Saturday.
Source: Economic Times