January 18, 2022

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

Lankan lynched by mob in Pakistan for alleged blasphemy

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Lankan lynched by mob in Pakistan for alleged blasphemy
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Lankan lynched by mob in Pakistan for alleged blasphemy
Lankan lynched by mob in Pakistan for alleged blasphemy

ISLAMABAD: A mob in Pakistan lynched a Sri Lankan national on Friday before burning his body for alleged blasphemy in Pakistan’s Sialkot city.
Priyantha Kumara, in his 40s, had been working as operational manager at a private factory on Wazirabad Road in Sialkot, in Pakistan’s Punjab province, for the past seven years.
According to the police, violence broke out after factory workers claimed that Kumara was seen tearing posters bearing the name of Prophet Muhammad and throwing it into a dustbin. “The victim was accused of desecrating Islamic stickers,” said Anwar Ghumman, a senior police officer. He said that the manager was lynched inside the factory.
“Kumara allegedly tore a poster of the hardline 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,” PTI quoted a Pakistan Punjab police official as saying.
Locals said as rumours that Kumara had committed blasphemy started spreading across the locality, a mob started gathering in the morning vowing to lynch the foreign national. Ishtiaq Hussain, a local resident, said that people from adjoining areas also joined the mob in the lynching.
When the police arrived at the scene, Hussain said, the victim had already been “tortured to death” and his body was being set on fire.
Videos shared on social media showed hundreds of men and young boys gathered at the site, with groups of them chanting Islamic slogans.
Most of the people surrounding the burning corpse were seen recording it.
Police said that video footage from inside the factory, where the torture took place, has been seized to identify the suspects and added that efforts to make arrests were underway. “Some people have already been arrested,” Ghumman said.
Blasphemy charges are often enough to prompt mass violence in Pakistan. Observers claim such accusations are often aimed at settling personal scores in the conservative Muslim nation, especially against minorities.
Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar said that “no one is allowed to take law in their hands”.
“I am extremely shocked at the horrific Sialkot incident,” he posted on Twitter. “Rest assured, individuals involved in this inhuman act will not be spared,” he vowed.
Human rights activist Hina Jilani said that such lynchings were quite frequent in Pakistan, “which should be alarming for the society and the state.”
“There are several laws already but still there is no safeguard for the minorities and citizens, and unless the state does not formulate any social policy things will not get better,” she told reporters.
Amnesty International said it was “deeply alarmed by the disturbing lynching and killing of a Sri Lankan factory manager in Sialkot, allegedly due to a blasphemy accusation”.
The latest horrific incident comes days after an angry mob in the northwestern district of Charsadda, near Peshawar, set fire to a police station, police checkpoints and parked cars, demanding that the police hand over a man to them suspected of burning a copy of the Quran.

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