Two men of Indian origin - Ahmed Jehangir and Farhaj Ahsan - were among those shot in New Zealand's Christchurch on Friday, Asaduddin Owaisi, the president of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) party, said on Twitter, as he urged External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to help their families in Hyderabad.
The worst-ever terror attack in New Zealand left at least 49 people dead when unidentified gunmen opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch, triggering a lockdown in the city.
Ahmed Jehangir, a Hyderabadi restaurant owner settled in New York for 15 years, was critically injured in the shooting at Al Noor mosque and was admitted to a hospital. Farhaj Ahsan, who also went to the same mosque to offer Friday prayers, is still missing. He is among the nine people of Indian origin who went missing after the shooting.
The families of the two men are worried about their well-being.
"My son went to the mosque to offer Friday prayers and he didn't return. About 17 people are still missing. I request the government to find about the whereabouts of my son," Mohammed Sayeeduddin, father of Farhaj Ahsan, told news agency ANI.
Ahmed Jehangir underwent a surgery after he was injured in the terror attack, Khurshid Jahangir, his brother said. "My brother was injured and is now recovering in a hospital. We have seen in the video he has been shot in the chest," he said.
Mr Owaisi, after urging External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to help the families earlier in the day, later in the evening thanked her. "I'd like to thank @SushmaSwaraj for personally updating me about MEA's efforts in assisting Ahmed's & Ahsan's families reach NZ in time," he said, and added, "We are in touch with @MEAIndiaMEA & they have assured us that they're making all efforts to get the visa process expedited."
In the earlier tweets, he shared details about the two men to seek support.
A video from #ChristChurch shows one Ahmed Jehangir who was shot. His brother Iqbal Jehangir is a resident of Hyderabad & would like to go to NZ for Ahmed's family.— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) March 15, 2019
I request @KTRTRS@TelanganaCMO@MEAIndia@SushmaSwaraj to make necessary arrangements for the Khursheed family
"Farhaj Ahsan, a person of Indian origin, was also reported to have gone to the same mosque and is currently missing. His family in Hyderabad, I request immediate assistance to his family as well. His family's contact details are available with me & I'll share the same with you," he said in another tweet.
The terror attacks in Christchurch marked "one of New Zealand's darkest days", Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. Witnesses had said women and children were among those who were killed.
In a letter to Ms Ardern, Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the twin shootings and expressed "deep shock and sadness" over the deaths. "The Prime Minister stressed India's strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and of all those who support such acts of violence. He stressed that hatred and violence have no place in diverse and democratic societies," the letter read.
One of the gunmen reportedly livestreamed the assault as he opened gunfire at the Masjid al Noor mosque that triggered the lockdown of the New Zealand city. The footage suggests the shooter filmed the video.
The New Zealand police, in a tweet, acknowledged the circulation of the footage. "Police are aware there is extremely distressing footage relating to the incident in Christchurch circulating online. We would strongly urge that the link not be shared. We are working to have any footage removed," the police said.
On Twitter, Mr Owaisi also requested the state government in Telanagana to help the families. Telangana Chief Minster K Chandrashekar Rao's Son Kalvakuntla Taraka Rama Rao replied to Mr Owaisi saying: "Asad Saab, Will request our NRI department to assist."
"The attack is reflective of a global shift towards Islamophobia & requires all of us to introspect on how we can counter hateful propaganda," Mr Owaisi had earlier remarked.
My prayers are with the families of those who have lost someone in #Christchurch terror attack.— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) March 15, 2019
The attack is reflective of a global shift towards Islamophobia & requires all of us to introspect on how we can counter hateful propaganda.
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'oon
One of the gunmen was an Australian-born citizen, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in Sydney, describing him as "an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist".
Indian High Commission In New Zealand has posted numbers helpline numbers for people: "We are shocked to hear about the shooting in #Christchurch. Any Indians needing assistance should contact us at 021803899 or 021850033," it said on Twitter.
Three men have so far been taken into custody.
(With inputs from agencies)
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