India confirms five nationals killed in Christchurch - GulfToday

India confirms five nationals killed in Christchurch


Relatives of Ancia Alibhava, who was killed in New Zealand, are seen during a condolence gathering in the Kodungalloor town of Kerala. Reuters

AM Abdussalam

Thrissur: Kerala government has initiated all efforts to bring the mortal remains of the 24-year-old woman from Kodungallur, killed in the in the Christchurch terror attacks and the body is expected to reach the state shortly, according to Chief Minister’s Office (CMO). Karippakulam Ancia Alibava, 25, who is a student of M.Tech at an agricultural university in New Zealand, was one among the 50 people who were killed in the shootouts at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday.

  Ancia had gone to the mosque to offer prayers along with her husband Ponnath Abdul Nazar when the terrorist showered bullets on worshippers who assembled at the mosques for Friday prayers. Initial reports suggested Ancia was wounded in the attack. She was praying at the women’s section of the mosque when the tragedy struck. Her husband had a miraculous escape and informed relatives in Kerala about the tragedy. Ancia was an Agribusiness management student in Lincoln University.

  NORKA Roots (a department which provides all information pertaining to Non Resident Keralites) was in constant touch with the Indian High Commissioner in New Zealand, the CMO statement said. The High commission officials were informed by New Zealand Police on Sunday morning that the body would be released within 24 hours. NORKA Roots officials said as soon as the body is handed over, it would be brought to Kerala within four days.

 Five Indian nationals were among the 50 worshippers killed in the Christchurch mosque attacks, with at least two others reported to be injured, officials said Sunday.

India’s embassy in New Zealand confirmed the deaths in a tweet, following the devastating shootings at twin mosques in the normally peaceful city.

Three of the dead from the mass shooting at Al Noor mosque were from Gujarat state. They were father and son victims Asif and Ramiz Vora, and 65-year-old retiree Mahboob Khokhar, who was visiting his son in Christchurch.

Ansia Karippakulam Alibava -- a 23-year-old from Kerala, who had lived with her husband in Christchurch since last year as she studied for a masters -- was also confirmed dead.

The fifth victim, Ozair Kadir, was an aspiring commercial pilot from Hyderabad city.

An Indian foreign ministry official in New Delhi told AFP that they are “in process of ascertaining information about all Indians affected by the terror attack”.

The official denied Indian media reports that claimed seven people were killed in the attack.

Desperate families in India have been trying to confirm the safety of their relatives after 28-year-old Australian white supremacist Brenton Tarrant allegedly launched his murderous rampage.

  Hundreds of people visited Ancia’s house near Cheraman Juma Masjid in Kodungallur to offer their condolences. According to media reports, the family declined the request of the New Zealand government to perform the last rites for Ancia in that country.

  On Saturday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had termed Ancia’s death as shocking. “We have been trying to contact the embassy through NORKA roots to gather more information. We share the grief of the family,” Pinarayi had said in the Facebook post.

  Abdul Nazar is working at a private firm in New Zealand. The couple moved to New Zealand one year ago.

  Earlier, the family were informed that Ancia was hospitalized after sustaining injuries during the terror attack. At the time of the terror attack, Ancia was at the mosque on Deans Avenue in Christchurch.

  India’s High Commission in New Zealand on Saturday said that it has been pursuing with local authorities whereabouts of seven Indians and two Indian-origin persons after the terror attacks on two Christchurch mosques.

  At least 50 worshippers were killed on Friday 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 on Muslims in a western country.