Agencies to examine Christchurch shooter’s 3 month stay in India

According to a comprehensive 792-page New Zealand Royal Commission of Inquiry report released on Tuesday, the Australian-born attacker Brenton Tarrant was in India between November 21, 2015 and February 18, 2016. HT has seen a copy of the report.
The report added that Tarrant travelled extensively, always alone, between April 15, 2014 and August 17, 2017 to various countries before moving to New Zealand.(AP fille photo)
The report added that Tarrant travelled extensively, always alone, between April 15, 2014 and August 17, 2017 to various countries before moving to New Zealand.(AP fille photo)
Published on Dec 09, 2020 07:42 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByNeeraj Chauhan

Indian intelligence officials said on Tuesday that they will look into 2019 Christchurch mosque shooter Brenton Tarrant’s three-month visit to India to find out details of the places he visited and the people he met.

According to a comprehensive 792-page New Zealand Royal Commission of Inquiry report released on Tuesday, the Australian-born attacker was in India between November 21, 2015 and February 18, 2016. HT has seen a copy of the report.

The report added that Tarrant travelled extensively, always alone, between April 15, 2014 and August 17, 2017 to various countries before moving to New Zealand. In all, the inquiry report lists 57 countries spread over Asia, most of Europe and Africa, where he travelled during the three years.

He came to India immediately after finishing a 23 day-trip to Nepal.

In fact, his longest stay during those three years was in India. “The longest visit the individual (Tarrant) made to any one country was to India where he stayed between 21 November 2015 and 18 February 2016,” the report said. He visited several countries for about a month or more, including Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Myanmar, Russia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia.

A senior Indian counter-terrorism official said Indian agencies will enquire about the cities he visited, and the people he was in touch with or stayed with. “We will seek information from regional FRROs (Foreigners Regional Registration Offices) about his travel in India,” said this officer, who requested anonymity.

He added, “There is no formal enquiry or investigation in India as of now. We will look into his travel on the basis of Royal Commission of Inquiry report. If required later, we may seek further inputs from New Zealand authorities”.

The report says that “while extremist groups (including violent extremists) can be found in some of the countries the individual (Tarrant) visited, there is no evidence that he met with them”.

“Likewise, there is no evidence that he engaged in training or investigated potential targets,” the report stated.

Tarrant, 30, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in August after pleading guilty to 92 counts of terrorism, murder and attempted murder for killing 51 Muslim worshippers including five Indians at two mosques during Friday prayers in Christchurch on March 15, 2019.

The report says Tarrant lived off the money that he received from his father and income from investments made with it. “With the money from his father, the individual travelled extensively. First, in 2013, he explored New Zealand and Australia and then between 2014 and 2017 he travelled extensively around the world,” it said.

The Royal Commission has concluded that when Tarrant moved to New Zealand in August 2017, it was with a fully developed terrorist ideology based on his adoption of the Great Replacement Theory and his associated beliefs that immigration, particularly by Muslim migrants, into Western countries was an existential threat to Western society and that the appropriate response (at least for him) was violence.

The Great Replacement Theory , popular among white supremacists and right-wing groups is that there is a conspiracy to replace white people with non-whites, largely through migration.

The report adds the purpose of the travel was not to meet up with extreme right-wing people or groups or engage in training activities or reconnaissance of possible targets. “Put simply, he travelled widely because he could and had nothing better to do,” it said.

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