On Friday, a Sri Lankan man Priyantha Kumara was tortured and burnt to death by a murderous Islamist mob over rumours of blasphemy. Photograph:( Agencies )
According to reports, the Sri Lankan national tore up a poster of the hardline Islamist party, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), in which Quranic verses were inscribed and threw it in the dustbin
A frenzied mob in Pakistan tortured a Sri Lankan man to death and then burnt his body in public allegedly over blasphemy accusations, according to local media reports.
The incident took place on Wazirabad Road in Sialkot on Friday, where reportedly the workers of private factories attacked the export manager, a Sri Lankan national, of a factory and burnt his body after killing him, the Dawn reported.
Sialkot district police officer Umar Saeed Malik said the man was identified as Priyantha Kumara, who was in his 40s.
According to reports, Kumara tore up a poster of the hardline Islamist party, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) in which Quranic verses were inscribed and threw it in the dustbin.
"The poster of the Islamist party was pasted on the wall adjoining the office of Kumara. A couple of factory workers saw him removing the poster and spread the word in the factory," news agency PTI quoted a Pakistan Punjab police official as saying.
Hundreds of men, enraged over the "blasphemy" incident, started gathering outside the factory from adjoining areas. Most of them were activists and supporters of the TLP.
"The mob dragged the suspect (the Sri Lankan national) from the factory and severely tortured him. After he succumbed to his wounds, the mob burnt his body before police reached there," the official said.
Several videos were circulated on social media showing hundreds of men gathered at the site surrounding the body of the Sri Lankan national. They were chanting slogans of the TLP.
The Imran Khan government had recently lifted a ban on the TLP after signing a secret agreement with it after which its chief Saad Rizvi and over 1,500 activists accused of terrorism were released from jail.
The TLP in return had ended its week-long sit-in in Punjab after withdrawing its demand of expelling the French ambassador on the issue of blasphemous cartoons in France.
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar termed it as a "very tragic incident", while the spokesperson for Sialkot police said details would be shared with the media after the initial investigation.
"Every aspect of the incident should be investigated and a report should be submitted. Action should be taken against those who take the law into their own hands," the chief minister said.
Punjab Inspector General of Police Rao Sardar Ali Khan also took notice of the incident and directed the Gujranwala regional police officer to reach the location immediately.
"The Sialkot DPO is present on the spot. All aspects of the incident should be investigated," the IGP said.
The horrific act drew a sharp reaction from the international human rights, NGO Amnesty International's South Asia, saying it is "deeply alarmed by the disturbing lynching and killing" of the Sri Lankan over a blasphemy accusation."
PAKISTAN: Amnesty International is deeply alarmed by the disturbing lynching and killing of a Sri Lankan factory manager in Sialkot, allegedly due to a blasphemy accusation. (Thread)— Amnesty International South Asia (@amnestysasia) December 3, 2021
The Friday incident bore resemblance to a similar attack that took place in the region in 2010 when an angry mob had lynched two brothers in the presence of police, declaring them dacoits.
(With inputs from agencies)