Indian missing after New Zealand attack dead, says family; search on for others

Mohammad Farhaj Ahsan, Indian who was reported missing after the deadly shooting in New Zealand’s Christchurch on Friday, succumbed to his injuries, his family members said in Hyderabad on Saturday. Farhaj Ahsan was shot by an Australian national, who opened indiscriminate firing at two mosques in Christchurch.

“We have just received the message from the New Zealand authorities that Ahsan passed away in the shooting,” his brother Khasim Khan told HT.

The 30-year old electrical engineer from Tolichowki area of Hyderabad had gone to Al Noor Mosque for Friday prayers. He did not return home after the attacker targeted the people offering Namaz at the mosque.

His wife Insha Aziz, mother of three-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son, heard the news of mass shooting and conveyed the message to his father Mohammad Sayeeduddin and mother Imtiaz Fatima immediately.

“His wife called us in the afternoon and told that he, too, had gone to the same mosque where the firing took place and had not returned since then. There had been no information about my son. We had been in touch with my daughter-in-law regularly to know the fate of my son,” Sayeeduddin told reporters.

Ahsan, who had done his engineering in electronics, had gone to Christchurch six years ago. He had been working as an engineer there. He took his wife and kids also along with him a couple of years ago.

Meanwhile, the condition of another Hyderabadi Ahmed Iqbal Jahangir (30), who was injured in the firing, is said to be stable. His brother Mohammad Khursheed told reporters that according to the information received from Christchurch, Jahangir was out of danger and was recovering. “I will be leaving for New Zealand shortly,” he said.

Jahangir, a resident of Amberpet area in the city, went to New Zealand about 15 years ago. He runs a restaurant there, offering Hyderabadi cuisine to the customers. His restaurant is closer to the Al Noor Mosque, where the indiscriminate shooting took place.

The Indian envoy to New Zealand, Sanjiv Kohli tweeted that he had been pursuing information on the whereabouts of the missing nine Indians.

“Hv been pursuing info on whereabouts of 9 persons from NZ authorities, these included 7 indian nationals and 2 PIOs. Two indian nationals receiving treatment. Folowing up with NZ Govt. status of others. Also r in regular touch with their families,” Kohli tweeted.

Almost all six of them were last seen near Masjid Al Noor on Deans Avenue where the shootout took place.

Indian authorities are yet to identify those of Indian origin who were affected in the shooting. The official Red Cross website listed the names of at least six Indians who were reported missing between February 15 and 16. They are Arif Vora, Farah Ahsaan, Farhaj Ahsan, Mohammad Imran Khan, Musa Patel, Rameez Vohra, and Hafiz Musa Vali Suleman.

On Friday, a gunman had stormed into two mosques and opened fire killing 49 people and leave 20 others injured during the Friday prayers in the country’s worst mass shooting ever. The attack was live-streamed by the attacker as he went from room-to-room spraying bullets on unarmed people, even shooting the wounded from close range.

The attacker was identified as an Australian extremist who had published a “manifesto” in which he had referred to immigrants as “invaders”.

First Published:
Mar 16, 2019 19:55 IST

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