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Sialkot lynching of Lankan manager: Imran phones Sri Lankan president, PM

The Sri Lankan president and prime minister, earlier, expressed confidence that PM Imran Khan would ensure justice in the case.

By News Desk & Our Correspondent
December 05, 2021

Sialkot lynching of Lankan manager: Imran phones Sri Lankan president, PM

ISLAMABAD: The Prime Minister Imran Khan phoned the Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa over the tragic, abhorent vigilante killing of Priyantha Diyawadana in Sialkot, to convey the Pakistanis sense of deep shame and anger and assured those arrested would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of law.

The Sri Lankan president and prime minister, earlier, expressed confidence that PM Imran Khan would ensure justice in the case. “Shocking to see the brutal and fatal attack on Priyantha Diyawadana by extremist mob in Pakistan. My heart goes out to his wife and family,” the Sri Lankan president wrote on Twitter. He added: “Sri Lanka and its people are confident that PM Imran Khan will keep to his commitment to bring all those involved to justice.” The Sri Lankan president hoped that the Pakistani government would ensure the safety of Sri Lankan workers in future. PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, whose government is a key regional ally to Pakistan, took to Twitter Friday and described the development as “shocking”.

The prime minister, in a tweet on Saturday, said he conveyed the nation’s anger and shame to the people of Sri Lanka at the killing of Priyantha. He said all Pakistanis were saddened and ashamed over the incident. “I informed him 100+ people [have been] arrested and assured him they would be prosecuted with the full severity of the law,” the PM added.

Meanwhile, the post-mortem report of the foreigner revealed that 99pc of his body was burned, and with the exception of one foot, all his bones were broken.

All his vital organs — liver, stomach, and one of his kidneys — were affected, while torture marks were visible all over his body and his spinal cord was broken at three different points. The report cited skull and jaw fractures as the cause of death.

A Punjab Police spokesperson said that following the autopsy, his body was sent to Lahore, with two Elite Force vehicles escorting it. The body will be handed over to the Sri Lankan consulate in Lahore, the spokesperson said. “After all legal formalities are fulfilled, the body will be sent to Sri Lanka via a special flight,” the spokesperson added.

The Punjab government has sent an initial investigation report of the tragic incident to PM Imran Khan, sources said, as authorities confirmed that 120 people, including 13 key suspects, have been arrested. Sources said two key suspects had “confessed” to their involvement in the torture and killing of the manager.

According to the preliminary report, Priyantha Diyawadana, who was a manager at Rajco Industries in Sialkot visited the factory and admonished the supervisor over poor condition of cleanliness and told him to remove all ‘things’ from the walls for a whitewash. A dispute emerged when Priyantha removed some posters from the walls of the factory. The posters were reportedly inscribed with the name of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Shortly after, the factory owner reached the spot and resolved the issue. Kumara also apologised for the misunderstanding on his part. After Priyantha ‘s apology, the matter was reportedly considered settled and the factory workers had dispersed.

The Police report suspect the supervisor, admonished by the deceased Sri Lankan manager, of being the main person behind the plot to kill Diyawadana. He reportedly incited the some members of the factory staff to attack the manager. Within a few minutes, a mob was set on the victim which eventually lynched him. According to the report, there was a group among the staff of the Rajco Industries who detested the foreign national and they were often heard bickering over trivial issues. On the other hand the owners of the industrial unit were pleased with the manager’s performance, his dedication to work and pleasant disposition and sense of discipline.

A total of 13 security guards were present in the factory at the time of the attack but surprisingly none of them tried to rescue the victim or disperse the mob, said the report. While they didn’t tried to rescue Priyantha, at least two Good Samaritans tried to save him. The Geo News televised footage where at least two attempting to save him and later, his body, from the violent group. A man in red sweater jumped in and tried to save Priyantha as the mob thrashed him. Alone, he formed a protective shield over the prone victim with his own body and bore the battering for a while, but was unable to continue putting up resistance after a point. After Priyantha was killed, another man, donning a black jacket, can be seen joining his palms together to beseech and plead with the mob to spare the body and not set it on fire. But he was tossed aside by the vicious crowd. Kumara’s body was later dragged outside the factory. Police received a phone call at 11:28am about the incident, officials said. A police party reached the site within 12 minutes. Heavy contingent of police were later dispatched to the crime scene to round up and arrest suspects.

Briefing the media on the progress made so far, Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Information Hasaan Khawar said at least 118 people, including 13 “key suspects”, had been arrested for the cold-blooded murder. Khawar said the suspects were arrested with the help of 160 videos that yielded 12 hours of footage. He said the provincial government had formed 10 teams to arrest all suspects involved in the murder. The Sri Lankan manager had already died when police received the first telephone call regarding the incident, he said.

The Punjab government spokesperson said police and the civil administration will take the investigation to its “logical conclusion”. Hasaan Khawar said a case had been registered against those involved in the tragic incident of Sialkot on the complaint of Police under murder and anti-terrorism act.

He revealed that the Sri Lankan national had been living alone in the country.

The inspector general of police for Punjab said police negligence was not a factor in the brutal murder. He said the district police officer (DPO) and a superintendent of police (SP) had to reach the crime scene on foot as roads were blocked in the area on that day.