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Sialkot lynching: 13 prime suspects identified, arrested, says IG Punjab

There were more than 800 people on the site

SAMAA | - Posted: Dec 4, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Dec 4, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago

The Punjab police have arrested 120 men, including 13 prime suspects, for murdering and burning the body of a Sri Lankan national over alleged blasphemy charges in Sialkot, Punjab Inspector-General Rao Sardar Ali Khan said Saturday afternoon.

At a press conference in Lahore, Rao and Punjab government spokesperson Hassan Khawar briefed journalists and media on the investigations into the case.

On December 3, a mob of approximately 800 factory workers tortured the victim, beat him to death, and then burnt his body in the middle of the road. The man was the general manager of the sports goods manufacturing unit of the factory.

"During the last 24 hours, we have conducted raids in over 200 areas of the city and arrested nearly 120 men," IG Rao said. "These include 13 suspects whose confessional videos have been circulating on social media."

The spokesperson of Punjab revealed that the police have obtained 12-hour CCTV footage of the attack from 100 cameras installed at the site. "We have sent the videos for a forensic examination."

He said that the post-mortem of the victim has been conducted and the body has been handed over to the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry. "Prime Minister Imran Khan and CM Usman Buzdar are overseeing the investigations themselves."

Sequence of events

Detailing the sequence of the events that led to the incident, IG Rao said that the DPO of Sialkot reached the site 17 minutes after the police the first complaint.

"When they reached there, the road leading to the factory was blocked. The policemen had to walk for 15 minutes to reach the crime site. When they got there, the Sri Lankan national's body was on fire."

The inspector-general added that the entire incident took place inside the factory premises. "After the torture, the mob dragged the body of the victim out to the main Wazirabad Road and then set it on fire."

Earlier, District Police Officer (DPO) Sialkot Umar Saeed Malik has issued a statement giving the following details.

  • At 11:30am, the police received information about a brawl and torture of a worker in a factory located at the Wazirabad Road. Ugoki Police Station SHO arrived at the scene by 11:50am and found that some incensed people had set a person on fire. The police doused the flames.
  • After getting the report of the unfortunate incident, the DPO Sialkot and other police officials arrived at the scene and controlled the situation.
  • The police have registered an FIR No. 1412 under sections 431, 427, 149, 147, 297, 201, 302, and 7ATA at Ugoki Police station against unidentified people and have launched an investigation.
  • At least ten investigation teams have been formed under the DPO and they are carrying out raids to arrest the accused who are being identified from the [viral] videos.

'No one will be spared'

Khawar and Rao, in unison, promised that the people accused in the incident won't be spared "at any cost".

"We have strict orders from the PM to ensure all the suspects are arrested and brought to justice," the Punjab spokesperson said, adding that law enforcement officers, who are proven to be guilty, will be punished too.

“We have begun an impartial investigation and justice will be served in this incident."

On Friday, after the incident was reported, Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack on Twitter. He said it was "a day of shame" for the country and everyone involved would be arrested.

Maulana Tahir Ashrafi, the PM’s special representative on religious harmony has, on the other hand, said that the killing of the factory manager on alleged blasphemy is highly regrettable.

He said this was an un-Islamic and inhumane act and "we are ashamed” over it.

 
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