Monday, December 06, 2021

Sialkot lynching: Sri Lankan manager's remains sent to Colombo

Sri Lankan factory manager Diyawadanage Don Nandasri Priyantha (left) and a screengrab of a video of the attack on him. Photos: file
Sri Lankan factory manager Diyawadanage Don Nandasri Priyantha (left) and a screengrab of a video of the attack on him. Photos: file 

  • Sri Lankan embassy officials arrive at hospital to escort Priyantha's body to airport, lay flowers over it.
  • Court remands 26 suspects into police custody for 15-days.
  • Police arrests seven more suspects in gruesome murder case; so far, a total of 131 suspects have been arrested.

LAHORE: The remains of Sri Lankan factory manager Diyawadanage Don Nandasri Priyantha — who was lynched by a mob in Sialkot over allegations of blasphemy — were sent off to Colombo today.

The Sri Lankan embassy officials arrived at the hospital to escort Kumara's body to the airport and laid flowers over it.

The body had been shifted to Lahore from Sialkot and Punjab Minister for Minorities Affairs Aijaz Alam represented Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on the occasion as the latter had to leave for Islamabad for an important meeting.

Priyantha's last rites will be performed upon arrival of his body in Sri Lanka.

Court remands 26 suspects into police custody

Meanwhile, 26 suspects arrested in connection with the lynching of the Sri Lankan factory manager have been remanded into police custody.

The police presented the suspects before an anti-terrorism court today and requested their remand for interrogation.

During the hearing, the names of the suspects were called out to mark their presence. All the suspects responded to their names except for one, named Shoaib alias Gonga (speech impaired).

The investigation officer informed the court that Shoaib is speech impaired.

The police requested the court to grant 15-day remand of the suspects for interrogation which the court accepted and ordered the investigation officer to present them on December 12.

Seven more suspects arrested 

Moreover, seven other suspects involved in the lynching were arrested, the police said.

So far, a total of 131 suspects have been arrested in connection with the Sialkot lynching case.

A statement issued by the Punjab police spokesperson said that arrested suspects Sikandar, Rashid, Ahmed Shehzad, Zohaib, Muhammad Irshad, Subhan and Umair Ali, were part of the mob that brutally murdered Priyantha.

In particular, Sikandar kept gathering people on the factory's rooftop and inciting the attack, Shehzad was armed with a stick and Zohaib was involved in planning to provoke others for violence, the spokesperson said.

He said that the latest arrests have been made with the help of CCTV camera videos and mobile phone data. Interrogation of the arrested suspects has started, he added.

Speaking about the progress in investigations of the case, 26 suspects were found to have played a key role in the gruesome murder. 

He said that CM Buzdar and the Punjab inspector-general of police are continuously monitoring the investigations and process of the identification of arrested suspects is underway.

The incident

Diyawadana Priyantha, working as a manager at a private factory in Sialkot, was lynched on Friday by a mob after being accused of blasphemy.

The gruesome incident was dubbed by Prime Minister Imran Khan as "a day of shame for Pakistan".

Workers of a garment industry, located on Sialkot’s Wazirabad Road, had alleged that the foreigner had committed blasphemy. He was subsequently lynched and his body set on fire.

The mob had also vandalised the factory and blocked traffic, according to the police.

The brutal murder drew widespread condemnation from senior government functionaries, including the prime minister and president, as well as the military's top leadership, who promised to bring all those involved to the book.