Punjab police conducting raids to arrest others
The Punjab police have arrested six men, primarily involved in the murder and lynching of a Sri Lankan national in Sialkot. So far, a total of 124 men have been taken into custody, of which 19 have been identified.
On Friday, a mob of nearly 800 to 900 people tortured, beat up, murdered, and then burnt the body of Priyantha Kumara over blasphemy allegations. A case was registered against the suspects under sections of terrorism, murder, and assault.
In the past two days, the police have arrested a number of suspects via 12-hour long CCTV footage obtained from over 150 cameras. On Sunday, the Punjab police tweeted that six more men have been added to the list of 13 primary suspects. The mens’ videos and pictures have been circulating on social media where they are seen confessing to the crime.
پنجاب پولیس نےCCTV فوٹیج اور موبائل کالز ڈیٹا سے گزشتہ 12گھنٹے میں مزید 6 مرکزی کرداروں کا تعین کرکے گرفتار کرلیا ہے۔ملزمان اپنے دوستوں اور رشتے داروں کے گھروں میں چھپے ہوئے تھےابتک کی تحقیقات کے مطابق124 زیرحراست افراد میں سے 19 ملزمان کا مرکزی کرادر سامنے آیا ہے@UsmanAKBuzdar https://t.co/lWuxBzmXVb— Punjab Police Official (@OfficialDPRPP) December 5, 2021
“The accused men were hiding in the houses of their relatives and friends. Raids are being conducted to arrest more men.”
The police added that these 19 suspects have played the “main role” in the lynching.
On Sunday, the 13 primary suspects were presented before a district magistrate in Sialkot. They have been granted a one-day transit remand. The men will be taken to the Anti-Terrorism Court in Gujranwala on Monday, December 6.
New videos and reports emerged on Saturday suggesting that after the mob re-entered the factory following the protest on the road, Priyantha run to the rooftop to save his life.
Videos show that mob surrounds him on the rooftop amid an array of solar panels.
At least one colleague tries to shield Priyantha from the mob as the Sri Lankan national clings to his legs.
SAMAA TV‘s Shehzad Ali, who visited the factory on Saturday, says there were a few other factory workers who tried to protect their manager.
A BBC URDU report says at least four workers were proactively trying to rescue the manager. They had told him to flee to the rooftop, but the mob somehow detected him there.
The four were wounded during the scuffle.
The man shielding the Sri Lankan national was later identified as Malik Adnan, the production manager at Rajco Industries. The mob reportedly threw him down from the top.
His body was later dragged out of the factory to the main road and then set on fire. The mob continued to record videos and take selfies with the burning corpse. After the lynching, the mob vandalized the properties and cars outside the factory.
The victim’s wife, Niroshi Dasaniyake, has pleaded with both Pakistani and Sri Lankan leaders to punish her husband’s murderers.
“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,” she said in an interview with BBC Sinhala.
On the other hand, the postmortem report of Priyantha revealed that he died because of a severe blow on the head. The mob broke almost all of the limb bones and nearly 99% of the tissues were damaged with burns and wounds. The body was burnt except for the lower legs.
Following the legal formalities and postmortem, the police have escorted the body to Lahore under security. The body will be handed over to Sri Lankan High Commission in Islamabad.
The Sri Lankan High Commission staff will accompany the body to Colombo, according to reports by the Sri Lankan media outlets.