Sri Lanka Demands Compensation From Pakistan Over Brutal Mob Killing of Factory Manager
12:46 GMT 06.12.2021 (Updated: 18:35 GMT 19.10.2022)
Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara Diyawadana, working in Pakistan's Sialkot, was beaten to death by a furious mob and his corpse was set ablaze. The mob allegedly became enraged after the Sri Lankan expat reportedly tore down a poster of the hardline Islamist group Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP). Police have refused to point the fingers at any group.
Sri Lankan Industry Minister Wimal Weerawansa said on Monday that his government has demanded compensation from Islamabad over the killing of a factory manager by a Pakistani mob in Sialkot last week.
"We have requested the government of Pakistan for compensation to be paid for the life of Priyantha Kumara. We have made a firm request that the government of Pakistan will do so accordingly", the Sri Lankan minister told reporters.
"If religious extremism is condoned and perpetrators are not brought to justice, it is the relevant governments that end up paying compensation", he said to explain the reasons behind Colombo's demand.
3 December 2021, 13:33 GMT
Some local witnesses and police officials said factory manager Diyawadana's alleged action of ripping off a TLP poster that reportedly had Quranic verses on it, outraged the factory's workers.
When the word spread around the factory about the alleged blasphemous act, a crowd of people started beating up the Sri Lankan national and tortured him to death.
Local media reports indicated that his corpse was then dragged to a nearby thoroughfare where it was torched in full public view.
Police said that it took them several hours to clear the mob.
Several videos of the purported incident shared on social media show people shouting celebratory slogans and taking selfies.
Police Action Over the Killing
Over 100 people have been detained so far and at least a dozen suspects identified.
As of Monday, police have identified and arrested 131 suspects over their involvement in the incident, out of which 26 have been identified as "key suspects", as per Punjab Province Police.
Per law enforcement, the accused were identified on the basis of footage accessed from CCTV cameras.
Though the police have refused to point the finger at any person or organisation, several social media videos have indicated that backers of Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP)
could have played a leading role in the crime.
The hardline Islamist group has been involved in violent protests in Pakistan since November of last year. It was banned by the government in April of this year, but was delisted from the proscribed list of organisations last month.
One of the group's main demands during protests against the government was the expulsion of the French ambassador over the portrayal of controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in France last year.
The Barelvi sect of ideology espoused by the TLP's leadership commands the support of some 50 percent of Pakistan's population, as per some estimates.
Meanwhile, the killing of the Sri Lankan national in Punjab Province's Sialkot has sent shockwaves across the region, with condemnations pouring in from Pakistani Prime Minister Khan and Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
The two leaders met on the sidelines of the Expo 2020 in Dubai on 4 December, with the incident featuring in talks between them, as per Prime Minister Khan.
The Sri Lankan Parliament on Saturday (4 December) even passed a resolution condemning the incident and demanded the safety of other Sri Lankan expats in Pakistan.