Sialkot lynching: 7 more prime suspects apprehended, taking total arrests to 131

The Punjab police on Monday announced the arrest of seven more of the prime suspects allegedly involved in the lynching of 49-year-old Sri Lankan factory manager Priyantha Kumara in Sialkot over blasphemy allegations, taking the total number of arrests to 131.

A mob comprising hundreds of protestors, including the employees of the factory Kumara was the manager of, had tortured him to death on Friday and later burnt his body.

A first information report was registered against 900 workers of Rajco Industries on the application of Uggoki Station House Officer (SHO) Armaghan Maqt under sections 302, 297, 201, 427, 431, 157, 149 of the Pakistan Penal Code and 7 and 11WW of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

The applicant admitted that the protesters had slapped, kicked, punched and hit Kumara with sticks in his presence, and dragged him out of the factory on Wazirabad Road where he died. They then set the body on fire. The SHO said he was helpless in front of the mob owing to shortage of personnel.

Over the past three days, the police have arrested scores. The suspects included the individual allegedly involved in planning the attack as well as others who waged violence and incited others.

The police added that out of the 131 people arrested, 26 played a “central role” in the brutal killing.

The statement added that Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and the inspector general of police for Punjab were continuously monitoring the investigation and the secretary prosecution was tasked with the prosecution of the case.

“These suspects will be presented in an anti-terrorism court today,” the statement said.

A spokesperson for the Punjab police said the process to identify the suspects was ongoing.

Meanwhile, the human remains of Kumara were brought to Lahore airport to be flown back home through Sri Lankan Airlines.

On Sunday, the police had identified and arrested six more of the main alleged culprits.

Thirteen of the main suspects were also produced in a criminal court and subsequently remanded in police custody for one day. The suspects were identified as Farhan Idrees, Saboor Butt, Talha, Abdul Rehman, Imran, Taimur, Shoaib, Raheel, Usman, Shahzaib, Nasir, Ehtisham, and Junaid.

They have produced in the court of judge Zarif Ahmed amid tight security. They will be produced before the Gujranwala anti-terrorism court on Monday (today).

Friday’s incident caused outrage across Pakistan with all sections of society coming forward to condemn the incident and calling for the suspects to be punished. Prime Minister Imran Khan said he had spoken to the Sri Lankan prime minister and assured him of due legal action.