LAHORE: The remains of Sri Lankan factory manager Diyawadanage Don Nandasri Priyantha — who was lynched by a mob in Sialkot over allegations of blasphemy — were sent off to Colombo today. The Sri Lankan embassy officials arrived at the hospital to escort Kumara’s body to the airport and laid flowers over it. The body had been shifted to Lahore from Sialkot and Punjab Minister for Minorities Affairs Aijaz Alam represented Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on the occasion as the latter had to leave for Islamabad for an important meeting. Priyantha’s last rites will be performed upon arrival of his body in Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, 26 suspects arrested in connection with the lynching of the Sri Lankan factory manager have been remanded into police custody. The police presented the suspects before an anti-terrorism court today and requested their remand for interrogation.
During the hearing, the names of the suspects were called out to mark their presence. All the suspects responded to their names except for one, named Shoaib alias Gonga (speech impaired). The investigation officer informed the court that Shoaib is speech impaired.
The police requested the court to grant 15-day remand of the suspects for interrogation which the court accepted and ordered the investigation officer to present them on December 12. Moreover, seven other suspects involved in the lynching were arrested, the police said. So far, a total of 131 suspects have been arrested in connection with the Sialkot lynching case. A statement issued by the Punjab police spokesperson said that arrested suspects Sikandar, Rashid, Ahmed Shehzad, Zohaib, Muhammad Irshad, Subhan and Umair Ali, were part of the mob that brutally murdered Priyantha. In particular, Sikandar kept gathering people on the factory’s rooftop and inciting the attack, Shehzad was armed with a stick and Zohaib was involved in planning to provoke others for violence, the spokesperson said.
He said that the latest arrests have been made with the help of CCTV camera videos and mobile phone data. Interrogation of the arrested suspects has started, he added. Speaking about the progress in investigations of the case, 26 suspects were found to have played a key role in the gruesome murder. He said that CM Buzdar and the Punjab inspector-general of police are continuously monitoring the investigations and process of the identification of arrested suspects is underway.