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Pakistan: 900 workers of garment factory booked over the mob lynching of Sri Lankan manager in Sialkot, 235 arrested

Rajco Industries remained closed on Saturday, and its workers are on the run to evade arrest for the brutal murder of Sri Lankan manager Priyantha Kumara

Sialkot police have registered FIR against 900 workers of a garment factory and arrested 235 people in the aftermath of the mob lynching of a manager of the factory according to a Dawn report. A Sri Lankan man Priyantha Kumara was tortured publicly and burnt to death by an Islamist mob on Wazirabad Road in Sialkot, accusing him of blasphemy.

According to reports, 900 workers of the Rajco Industries have been booked under sections 302, 297, 201, 427, 431, 157, 149 of the Pakistan Penal Code and 7 and 11WW of the Anti-Terrorism Act, after a complaint was filed by Uggoki Station House Officer (SHO) Armaghan Maqt. The officer admitted that the mob had brutalized and tortured the Sri Lankan man before setting him on fire. Arman Maqt said that Priyantha Kumar was beaten to death by the mob on the Wazirabad Road before his body was set on fire. The SHO Maqt said that the police lacked staff and was ‘helpless’ in front of the mob of hundreds of fanatics.

Among the arrested 235 people, some had assaulted the victim and some were witnesses to the incident and had recorded videos. The arrested also include the two main accused Mohammad Talha and Farhan Idrees, who have been moved to an undisclosed location.

The Sialkot police are looking for the remaining accused among the booked 900 workers accused of being involved in the brutal murder of Priyantha Kumara. Raids have been conducted in the nearby villages including Sambrial, Daska and Pasrur tehsils. Rajco Industries remained closed on Saturday, and its workers are on the run to evade arrest.

The post mortem report said that most of the body of Priyantha Kumara was burnt, and several bones were broken due to the torture by the mob. The body was shifted to a Lahore hospital amid tight security, and it would be sent to Colombo after fulfilling formalities.

Wife of Priyantha Kumara begs for justice :

Wife of the murdered Sri Lankan man Priyantha Kumara has begged justice from the Pakistani and Sri Lankan leaders for the brutal killing of her husband by the Sialkot mob. Niroshi Dasaniyake told BBC Sinhala, “My husband was an innocent man. I found out from the news that after working abroad for so long he had been brutally murdered. I saw on the internet how inhuman the killing was. I appeal to the Sri Lankan president and the Pakistani prime minister and president to conduct a fair investigation so my husband and our two children get justice,”

Meanwhile, Colombo’s High Commissioner in Pakistan Vice Admiral Mohan Wijewickrama stated that the remains of Mr Kumara would be delivered from Lahore to Colombo on a special flight on Monday.

Pakistan Foreign Minister and Prime Minister Imran Khan promise justice for the Sialkot killing :

Threatened by the fact that the Sialkot Killing might aggravate the foreign relations between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi tweeted, “The lynching of a Sri Lankan citizen will not affect Pakistan-Sri Lanka bilateral relations as it was a work of a group of people and the nation or the country cannot be blamed for it,” adding, “Spoke to my brother FM Gamini Lakshman Peiris of #SriLanka and expressed my deep grief and condolences.”

Pakistani PM Imran Khan has expressed anger & shame over the Sialkot killing in a tweet where he said, “Spoke to Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today in UAE to convey our nation’s anger & shame to people of Sri Lanka at vigilante killing of Priyantha Diyawadana in Sialkot. I informed him 100+ ppl arrested & assured him they would be prosecuted with full severity of the law.”

Maulana Fazlur Rehman justify the Sialkot killing on Pak Govt inaction towards blasphemy

Maulana Fazlur Rehman while condemning the incident have warned that such incidents of mob justice would continue to happen if the Pakistan government did not take action against those suspected of blasphemy. Maulana said, “In the past, such reactions have come when those accused of blasphemy have been sent abroad under government supervision,”

Mufti Muneebur Rehman, Former chairman of the Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee has tried to downplay the incident and asked the media to refrain from blaming any group or individual before a complete police investigation has been conducted.

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