The body of Ansi Alibava, who was killed during the New Zealand mosque attacks, is carried upon arrival at Cochin International Airport in Kochi on Monday. Five Indian nationals were among the 50 worshippers killed in the Christchurch mosque attacks. AFP
KOCHI: The body of an Indian student killed in the Christchurch mosque attacks was returned on Monday to her grieving family in Kochi, where relatives remembered a bright young woman dedicated to her studies.
Ansi Alibava, 25, was the first of at least five Indians shot dead by a white supremacist in New Zealand on March 15 to be repatriated.
Her body was returned at an airport in Kochi in the southern Indian state of Kerala early on Monday, an AFP photographer present said.
The family planned to hold a funeral ceremony for the masters student in their nearby hometown of Kodungallur.
Alibava was praying at the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch with her husband, Abdul Nazer, when the Australian gunman opened fire on worshippers, killing 43.
Another seven were murdered at a separate mosque when the shooter later turned his weapon on Muslims there in the worst violence of its kind ever seen in New Zealand.
Some families have opted for burials in Christchurch itself, where a national remembrance service for the victims will be held on Friday, two weeks after the tragedy that shocked the world.
Born into a middle-class family in Kodungallur, Alibava started supporting her family after her father died five years ago in Saudi Arabia where he had been working.
She took thousands of dollars in loans to fund her studies in business agriculture at Christchurch’s Lincoln University.
Alibava’s cousin, P.H. Niyas, told AFP the dedicated student was soon to finish her studies.
“She had gone there last year, the course was due to finish by April. There was to be a six-month training (course) after which she was to return home by December,” said Niyas.
Alibava also worked part-time at a supermarket with Nazer, who she married two years ago.
On March 15, they went to the Al Noor Mosque and sat separately in the men and women’s sections.
When gunfire broke out, Nazer managed to flee through an emergency exit but his wife did not make it.
When he returned to look for her, Nazer found his young wife motionless and face down, according to Indian media reports.
He was officially informed of her death 24 hours after the massacre.
Another Indian family who lost relatives in the attack opted for burial in Christchurch.
Father and son Asif Vora and Rameez Vora hailed from Gujarat, in western India, and were visiting family in New Zealand when they were killed.
“They decided to perform the last rites there itself,” a community leader, Zuber Goplani, told AFP.
The body of another victim also from Gujarat, Maheboob Khokhar, was expected to be returned to India this week, his family said.
The Australian man accused of killing 50 Muslim worshippers in gun attacks on two mosques in Christchurch will face 50 murder charges and 39 attempted murder charges,
: A far-right Australian senator who said the Christchurch mosque massacre was the result of Muslim immigration into New Zealand was censured for his “ugly and divisive” comments by his parliamentary peers on Wednesday.
Australia and India will be aiming to finish top of the World Cup league phase and so avoid facing hosts England in the semi-finals as they prepare for the final day of round-robin matches.
It was a superb display by the underdog Black Caps, who came into the match on the back of three straight defeats by Pakistan, Australia and England and only qualified for the semi-finals on net run-rate, while India topped the 10-team group stage.
The billionaire frontman of Thailand’s anti-military parliamentary bloc is set to hear a controversial ruling on Wednesday that could see him banned from politics and jailed for up to 10 years.
The last band of anti-government protesters trapped inside a besieged Hong Kong university were weighing a narrowing range of options early on Wednesday as police
Syrian anti-aircraft defences on Wednesday intercepted a “heavy attack” by Israeli warplanes over the capital Damascus, state media said.