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Families in Gujarat, Kerala mourn for loved ones killed in New Zealand shooting

Families in Gujarat, Kerala mourn for loved ones killed in New Zealand shooting

Ahmedabad/Thiruvananthapuram: Thousands of kilometers away from New Zealand, four distraught families in Gujarat and Kerala are waiting for one last glance of their five relatives who were among those killed in a shooting at two mosques in Christchurch.

The grieving families are trying to cope with the loss of their loved ones in the attack by a gunman which left 50 people dead.

Among the deceased were a 28-year-old man from Gujarat, who was recently blessed with a baby boy, and his father, and an Imam who shifted to New Zealand three weeks ago, after his citizenship was confirmed.

Farhaj Ahsan, an engineer hailing from Hyderabad, is also feared to have died and his parents are expected to leave for New Zealand Sunday night, a family member said.

A grieving Yasmeen Vora from Vadodara said their relative Arif Vora (58) went to New Zealand with his wife on February 14 to see their son Rameez Vora (28), who was recently blessed with a baby boy. Rameez Vora, who was settled in New Zealand, took his parents to offer Friday prayers at the mosque when the incident took place, she said.

"Arif's other son Raheel, who lives in Australia, confirmed that both Arif bhai and Rameez were killed in the attack," said the distraught woman.

The family members approached Lok Sabha member from Vadodara, Ranjan Bhatt, who has assured help, she said.

Hafiz Musa Patel (56), an Imam hailing from Luwara village in Bharuch, who had gone to New Zealand only three weeks back as his citizenship had recently been confirmed, his relative Ayub Ghadi said.

Patel was living in Fiji since the last three decades. His two daughters and three sons are settled in Australia and New Zealand," Ghadi said.

"He had gone to the mosque to offer Friday prayers with his wife and a friend when the shooting happened. Bullets hit Patel in the back following which he was shifted to a hospital in Christchurch where he succumbed," he said.

Besides, Juned Kara from Navsari in Gujarat was also among those killed in the attack, Superintendent of Police Girish Pandya said.

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