Islamabad: Two primary suspects, Farhan Idrees and his colleague Usman Rasheed, whom the Sri Lankan general manager of a factory in Sialkot city of Punjab province used to chide for poor output and indiscipline, incited their colleagues to lynch him over ‘blasphemy’, says an interim police report on the torture and murder of Priyantha Diyawadana Kumara.
They disliked 49-year old Priyantha Kumara, a textile engineer by qualification, for being strict in enforcing discipline.
Later, both of them also admitted in interviews with TV channels on the spot that they had killed the ‘blasphemer.’
As per details, on December 3, Priyantha Kumara was dragged out of the factory onto the road, kicked, tortured and beaten to death with iron rods and sticks by hundreds of workers over blasphemy charges. Later, his body was set on fire by the mob.
According to details, Kumara had removed a poster of the erstwhile banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) from the outer wall of the factory ahead of a whitewash of the building.
This gave the disgruntled men an opportunity to settle scores with their boss and they circulated a rumour that he had committed blasphemy.
The incident drew international condemnation from around the world calling upon Prime Minister Imran Khan and his party’s government in Punjab to take strict action against the culprits.
Immediately after the murder of the factory manager in Sialkot, known as the industrial hub of the country, Prime Minister Imran Khan in a tweet had assured justice to the family of Priyantha Kumara saying he was personally monitoring the investigation.
PM Khan talks to Lankan President
In another tweet, PM Khan informed that he had spoken to Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and conveyed “our nation’s anger & shame to the people of Sri Lanka at the vigilante killing of Priyantha Diyawadana in Sialkot. I informed him 100+ ppl arrested & assured him they would be prosecuted with full severity of the law.”
More than 100, including primary suspects, detained
The Punjab police also arrested more than 100 factory workers including the two primary suspects accused of torturing Priyantha Kumara with the help of the closed-circuit TV cameras (CCTV) footage.
Six more people were arrested on Sunday for alleged involvement in the lynching of Priyantha Kumara.
The First Information Report (FIR) was registered against 900 workers of Rajco Industries on the application of Uggoki (Sialkot) Station House Officer (SHO) Armaghan Maqt under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) including the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).
According to the FIR the protesters had slapped, kicked, punched and hit Kumara with sticks in the SHO’s presence, and dragged him out of the factory on Wazirabad Road where he died.
Police helpless before the mob
The SHO said he was helpless in front of the mob owing to shortage of personnel.
According to District Police Officer (DPO) Omar Saeed Malik raids were still being carried out to arrest more suspects. More than 300 factory workers have been identified in the CCTV footage for involvement in the gory act and the police teams have been constituted to find them, he said.
A day earlier, Chief Minister of Punjab Buzdar had stated that the investigation was being taken forward in a scientific manner.
Wife seeks justice
Kumara’s grieving wife, Niroshi Dasaniyake, has pleaded with both Pakistani and Sri Lankan leaders for justice for her slain husband.
“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 a statement.
Kumara and his family had been living in Sialkot for the last seven years.