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Lynched Sri-Lankan Man Wrongfully Accused

Dec 07, 2021

By Naadiya Adams

The family of a Sri-Lankan man who was killed in Pakistan are struggling to come to terms with the “inhumane” way in which he was killed in an alleged case of “blasphemy”.

Priyantha Kumara, 48, a general manager at a Pakistani textile factory in the eastern city of Sialkot was brutally murdered and set alight by his employees.

In an interview with Radio Islam, Kamran Minhas, Deputy Secretary-General for Human Rights in Pakistan says Kumara was wrongly accused.

According to Minhas, Kumara was only accused of being blasphemous in the name of Islam, due to tensions between the employees but had in fact not shown disrespect towards his subordinate or his religion.

“The workers were already unhappy with him, and at that particular day he reprimanded a supervisor about the cleanliness of an area in the factory and definitely he removed some papers that were attached on the walls and it said that one of those papers had Arabic letters on it from which the supervisor created a preface to claim blasphemy,” explained Minhas.

He says the lynching came from purely within the factory and the employees with no external interference.

“It started within the hall of the factory and when they attacked him he even ran upstairs in the rooftop to save his life and the factory workers were the people who beat him to death and he died even on the rooftop of the factory, there was no outside person involved,” explained Minhas.

Pakistani police say they have arrested seven prime suspects in the brutal mob lynching. While Minhas says that at least 100 people have been arrested.

According to Al Jazeera, he was beaten with sticks, fists, and kicks by a huge mob of dozens of people. He was then dragged to the road outside the factory and set on fire.

Social media footage of the attack showed hordes of young men chanting, as some took selfies with the burning body.

Pakistan has since apologized to the Sri-Lankan Government for the regrettable incident.

“In general, Sri Lanka’s response has been very controlled and they have not taken it in a bad sense after the response of Pakistan,” explained Minhas.

The victim leaves behind his wife and two children, aged nine and 14. The family of the deceased has asked the Sri Lankan government to request financial compensation from either the Pakistani government or Kumara’s employer for his immediate family.

The body was to be repatriated to Sri Lanka on Monday ahead of the funeral.

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