The human remains of Priyantha Kumara, a Sri Lankan manufacturing manager who was lynched by a mob in Sialkot last week, were transferred to Sri Lanka on Monday through Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport.
On Friday, a mob of hundreds of protestors, including employees of the plant where Kumara worked, tortured him to death and then burned his body over blasphemy claims.
On the plea of Uggoki Station House Officer (SHO) Armaghan Maqt, a first information report was filed against 900 Rajco Industries employees under Sections 302, 297, 201, 427, 431, 157, 149 of the Pakistan Penal Code and 7 and 11WW of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
The demonstrators slapped, kicked, punched, and struck Kumara with sticks in his presence, according to the application, and dragged him out of the factory on Wazirabad Road, where he died. They then set fire to the body. Due to a lack of personnel, the SHO said he was powerless in the face of the throng.
The body was transported to the airport in an ambulance, where it was welcomed by Punjab Minister for Minority Affairs Ejaz Alam Augustine, who dispatched it with state honours on a Sri Lankan Airlines flight.
Other officials in attendance included Hafiz Mohammad Tahir Ashrafi, Special Representative to the Prime Minister on Religious Harmony, Yasin Joya, Honorary Consul General of Sri Lanka, and members from the Punjab Home Department and the Sri Lankan High Commission.
Speaking to reporters at the airport, Ashrafi stated that to remove extremism, the entire nation would have to unite in the same manner that terrorism had been eradicated.
“Today is a day of mourning, but we pledge to bring Priyantha Kumara’s killers to justice,” he stated.
Seven more high-profile individuals have been apprehended.
On Monday, Punjab police reported the arrest of seven more of the main suspects in the lynching of Kumara, bringing the total number of arrests to 131.
Several people have been arrested in the last three days. The suspects included those who were reportedly involved in the attack’s planning as well as those who perpetrated violence and incited others.
According to the authorities, 26 of the 131 people arrested played a “key part” in the heinous murder.
The statement went on to say that Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and the Punjab Inspector General of Police were constantly watching the inquiry, and that the case would be prosecuted by the secretary prosecution.
According to the announcement, “these individuals will be presented in an anti-terrorism court today.”
According to a Punjab police official, the process of identifying the individuals is still underway.
Culprits will face the most severe penalties: Buzdar
“[We] equally share in the sadness of the Sri Lankan government, nation, and bereaved family over the death of Sri Lankan citizen Priyantha Kumara,” Chief Minister Buzdar stated in a statement.
He expressed his condolences to Kumara’s family and assured them that the administration was handling the situation properly. Buzdar stated that all prerequisites of justice would be met in the case after providing details on the arrests and the investigation thus far.
“I’m personally assessing the investigation’s progress. The perpetrators will face the most severe penalties available under the law “According to the chief minister.
‘The incident would have no bearing on Pak-SL relations.’
Meanwhile, Vice Admiral Mohan Wijewickrama, the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Pakistan, expressed satisfaction with Pakistani authorities’ response to Kumara’s murder and stated that the incident will not harm amicable relations between the two nations.
The envoy condemned the lynching and said such incidents must not be accepted, speaking to reporters on Monday after meeting with some PTI leaders who came to pay him condolences. However, it should be noted that “We are certain that the incident was not directed at our country, religion, or race. It was a one-off occurrence.”
A considerable number of suspects had already been apprehended, and legal action was being pursued against them, according to Wijewickrama.
“This incident will have no impact on our bilateral relations,” he said, recalling that Pakistan-Sri Lankan connections date back to the country’s inception, and that Pakistan has always stepped in to help Sri Lanka.
He added that talks with the Pakistani government were ongoing on how Kumara’s family may be paid. “We are extremely optimistic that the Pakistani government would handle this situation in such a way that justice is served,” he continued.
Outrage around the country
Six more of the main suspected criminals were identified and apprehended by police on Sunday.
Thirteen of the major suspects were also arrested and placed in police custody for one day in a criminal court. Farhan Idrees, Saboor Butt, Talha, Abdul Rehman, Imran, Taimur, Shoaib, Raheel, Usman, Shahzaib, Nasir, Ehtisham, and Junaid were named as suspects.
They were brought before Judge Zarif Ahmed in a high-security courtroom. On Monday, they will appear in front of the Gujranwala anti-terrorism court (today).
The incident on Friday sparked outrage across Pakistan, with people from all walks of life condemning it and demanding that the perpetrators be punished. Prime Minister Imran Khan said he spoke with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and assured him that legal action will be taken.