'Was trying to save humanity,' Malik Adnan speaks to SAMAA
Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced a bravery award for a Sialkot factory worker who tried to shield Priyantha Kumara from the mob before the Sri Lankan national was lynched and his body was set on fire on Friday.
Malik Adnan has told SAMAA TV that he was trying to save humanity.
A video of Malik Adnan, who is a production manager at the Rajco Industries, trying to shield Priyantha Kumara went viral on Saturday.
The video shows Adnan pleading with the mob and shielding Priyantha, especially his head from the attacks, as the Sri Lankan national clings to his legs.
Wearing a red sweater, Adnan leans over Priyantha as the mob tries to snatch the Sri Lankan national to "throw him down." Many of them are heard saying "he would not escaped today."
Another video recorded at what appears to be the factory courtyard shows Adnan trying to convince the factory workers to spare Priyantha from lynching. This video was recorded before the mob went to the rooftop.
Some social media users claim Adnan held the mob back for a total of 45 minutes.
PM Khan on Sunday saluted Adnan's "moral courage and bravery" and acknowledged that he put his life on the line.
The prime minister announced Tamgha-e-Shujaat, the fourth-highest bravery award in the country, for Malik Adnan.
"On behalf of the nation I want to salute moral courage & bravery of Malik Adnan who tried his utmost to shelter & save Priyantha Diyawadana from the vigilante mob in Sialkot incl endangering his own life by physically trying to shield victim. We will award him Tamgha i Shujaat," the prime minister said in a tweet.
On behalf of the nation I want to salute moral courage & bravery of Malik Adnan who tried his utmost to shelter & save Priyantha Diyawadana from the vigilante mob in Sialkot incl endangering his own life by physically trying to shield victim. We will award him Tamgha i Shujaat— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) December 5, 2021
Malik Adnan on Sunday spoke to SAMAA TV's Shehzad Ahmed.
"We tried to save humanity, everyone should… I put my life on the line so that my country's image is not tarnished."
Narrating the Friday's events at the Rajco Industries, he said, "We were in a meeting and suddenly I received a call that Priyantha sahib has repimanded someone and people are rushing towards his office.
"We came out and stood at the stairs [in front of Priyantha's office] but those people outnumbered us. They pushed us away and entered the building. Meanwhile, Priyantha sahib was going towards the rooftop where there are solar panels.
"They [the mob] surrounded him there and started beating him. By that time I got there and we tried to shield him by leaning over him and doing everything else we could possibly do but…"
Adnan said he is thankful to Prime Minister Imran Khan for "presenting my behaviour as a positive [image of Pakistan] to the world" and announcing the award for him.
To protect Adnan's identity, SAMAA TV has blurred his face.
He uses the plural 'we' instead of singular 'I' in his conversation for people who tried to protect Priyantha Kumara.
Reports say a few other factory workers also tried to protect Priyantha Kumara after he exchanged heated arguments with a group of workers and was accused of blasphemy.
They hid him on the rooftop but the mob found him.
A BBC URDU report claimed four workers who tried to protect Priyantha were wounded during the scuffle and now their families fear reprisal attacks from the mob.
The Police in Sialkot have arrested 124 people so far including 19 prime suspects, who allegedly incited others for violence.
At least 800 unidentified people have been nominated in the FIR registered after the lynching incident.
Those who appeared on CCTV footages or viral videos were arrested.
Priyantha Kumara was among thousands of Sri Lankan managers working in Pakistan. Factory owners prefer them over locals for a reason.