LAHORE: The human remains of the Sri Lanka manager of a local business killed in Sialkot over blasphemy allegations were dispatched Monday to his home country from Lahore at state cost.
Remains of Diyawadanage Don Priyantha Kumar killed by a mob in Sialkot Pakistan was transferred from Lahore to Colombo by SriLankan Airlines this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/vO1jA0lvAG
— Sri Lanka High Commission in Pakistan (@SLinPakistan) December 6, 2021
The remains will be received by the next-of-kin at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake city.
A mob comprising employees of a garment production unit tortured to death and burned the body of Priyantha Kumara, a 49-year-old man working in Pakistan for ten years, on Friday reportedly over allegations of blasphemy.
But Sialkot Assistant Commissioner Muhammad Murtaza told The Guardian the while “alibi used for murder is blasphemy, the cause of murder appears personal and targeted”.
Kumara’s body was brought to Allama Iqbal International Airport in an ambulance where Punjab Minister for Minority Affairs Ejaz Alam Augustine received it and dispatched it through a SriLankan Airlines flight with state honours.
Officials present on the occasion included Adviser to the Prime Minister on Religious Harmony Tahir Ashrafi, Honorary Consul General of Sri Lanka Yasin Joya and representatives of the Punjab Home Department and Sri Lanka High Commission.
Lankan High Commission has also sought an investigation report from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) concerning the incident.
Speaking to reporters at the airport, Ashrafi said the whole nation would have to unite to eradicate the menace of extremism the way it had eliminated terrorism from the country.
“Today is a day of grief but we promise that the killers of Priyantha Kumara will be brought to justice,” he said.
Meanwhile, a makeshift memorial was erected outside the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce to honour the slain man.
Umair Amin, a member of the body, said: “Sri Lanka is our friend and we share its pain in this sad incident.”
A candlelight vigil was also conducted near the unit where Kumara worked.
SEVEN MORE ARRESTED
Meanwhile, the Punjab police arrested seven more of the prime suspects, taking the tally to 131.
The police said of the total arrested, 26 played a “central role” in the grisly murder of Kumara.
Over the weekend, the police have arrested dozens on charges of inciting and forming the mob. It arrested seven more Monday, an update shared on the Twitter account of Punjab police said.
They were traced using camera footage and mobile phone data, the police said. “The suspects were hiding at the homes of their friends and relatives,” the tweet added.
Late Friday, a first information report (FIR) was registered against 900 workers of Rajco Industries – the business Kumara was manager of – on the application of Uggoki Station House Officer (SHO) Armaghan Maqt under sections 302, 297, 201, 427, 431, 157, 149 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and 7 and 11-WW of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).
Maqt admitted the protesters had tortured Kumara with sticks in his presence before dragging him out of the factory on the road where he died, but said he was helpless in front of the charged mob owing to a shortage of personnel.
MOB WANTED TO TORCH FACTORY: PROBE
A preliminary police investigation into the killing revealed the mob had also planned to set the factory on fire and attempted to murder its owners.
A report quoting the police on Sunday said the mob had several bottles of petrol and they were planning to torch the building.
The attackers attempted to kill an owner trapped inside who was rescued by police.
The mob had also threatened to throw petrol bombs at police personnel but a heavy contingent foiled their plans.