Hundreds of enraged Muslims, Sri Lankan factory manager of LYNCH in Pakistan, publicly burns his body after being accused of blasphemy
- Priyantha Kumara was publicly killed and burnt in eastern Pakistan yesterday
- Sri Lankan sports equipment factory manager charged with blasphemy
- Crowds of hundreds of enraged factory workers dragged victim outside
- Police arrested 13 people and dozens were arrested, officials said today
Hundreds of rabid Muslims in eastern Pakistan lynched and publicly burned the body of a Sri Lankan sports equipment factory manager on Friday for alleged blasphemy.
Priyantha Kumara has been accused by factory workers of desecrating posters bearing the name of the Prophet Muhammad of Islam.
Crowds descended on the factory in Sialkot district in Punjab province and police arrested 13 suspects, including dozens according to authorities.
Hundreds of rabid Muslims in eastern Pakistan lynched and publicly burned body of Sri Lankan sports equipment factory manager on Friday after being accused of blasphemy
The lynching was widely condemned by Pakistan’s military and political leaders, prominent social and religious figures and members of civil society.
Important suspects have been arrested after video footage of the violence clearly showed instigators instigating workers to kill the manager, dragged him outside, took selfies with his body on fire and proudly admitted what they did, Punjab Police Chief Rao Sardar said today.
Mr Sardar also said the incident started around 11 a.m. on Friday and three police officers arrived at the factory to monitor the situation soon after.
The victim allegedly asked workers to remove all stickers from machinery in the factory before the arrival of a foreign delegation.
Hassan Khawar, right, spokesman for the Pakistani government in the Punjab, and the chief of the police of the Punjab Rao Sardar
Punjab government spokesman Hassan Khawar said the provincial police chief was personally overseeing the investigation.
Khurram Shahzad, a police official from Sialkot district, said 123 suspects were being held during ongoing raids.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Sugeeswara Gunaratne said yesterday that the Sri Lankan embassy in Islamabad was checking details of the incident with Pakistani authorities.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted yesterday: “The horrific self-defense attack on the Sialkot factory and the fiery fire by the Sri Lankan manager is a day of shame for Pakistan.
“I oversee the investigations and make no mistake, all those responsible will be punished with all the severity of the law. The arrests are underway.
In conservative Pakistani society, simple allegations of blasphemy invite attacks from the mob.
The country’s blasphemy law provides for the death penalty for anyone convicted of the offense.
Pakistani security officers inspect the factory. The country’s blasphemy law provides for the death penalty for anyone convicted of the offense
Important suspects have been arrested after video footage of the violence showed clear instigators instigating workers to kill the manager, dragged him outside, took selfies with his body on fire and proudly admitted what they did
Mr. Khawar (center) and Mr. Sardar (left) with Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, Special Representative of the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Religious Harmony
Friday’s attack came less than a week after a Muslim mob torched a police station and four police stations in northwest Pakistan after officers refused to hand over a mentally unstable man accused of ‘have profaned the holy book of Islam, the Koran.
No officer was injured in the attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The country’s government has long been under pressure to change the country’s blasphemy laws, first introduced by British colonial rulers in 1860.
Critics of the laws say accusing someone of insulting Islam can often be used to intimidate members of minority religious groups or to settle personal scores in Pakistan, say VOA News.
A Punjab governor was shot dead by his own guard in 2011 after defending a Christian, Aasia Bibi, accused of blasphemy.
She was acquitted after spending eight years on death row and, following threats, left Pakistan for Canada to join her family.