Pak Court Awards Death Penalty To Six, 9 Given Life Sentences

Nilushi, the wife of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara, who was beaten to death and burnt by the mob in Sialkot, sits with her kids at the funeral in Ganemulla, Sri Lanka in this file photo from 2021 (Image: Reuters)

Priyantha Kumara’s lifeless body was tortured by the mob in Sialkot before they set it ablaze in front of local police personnel.

A Pakistan anti-terrorism court awarded death sentence to six and handed life imprisonment to nine responsible for the lynching Sri Lankan factory manager Priyantha Kumara on December 2020.

Priyantha Kumara was lynched in the streets of in Sialkot last year by an unruly mob who said he committed acts of blasphemy. The court sentenced 72 others named in the cases to two years of jail sentence each. One person was given a sentence of five years while another was acquitted.

Priyantha was lynched in the streets of Sialkot and then set ablaze. The mob tortured him before burning him on the streets where police donned the role of mute spectators. Lynchings in the name of religion are common in Pakistan where most victims faced irate mobs who claim that the victims were blasphemous. The minority communities of Pakistan have for long suffered at the hands of the Sunni Muslim majority who have used blasphemy often as a tool to subdue minorities.

The prosecutors said that they have large amounts of evidence against the perpetrators as those who lynched Priyantha as they clicked photos and videos of themselves while lynching the Sri Lankan who worked as a manager in Sialkot. Priyantha opposed the sticking of posters inscribed with Islamic verses, which his Pakistani employees considered to be an act of blasphemy.

Geo News quoting inspector general of police of Punjab province Rao Sardar Ali Khan said that they found Priyantha Kumara in the roof of the garments factory where he was working from where he was dragged onto the streets. The Geo News report filed during the incidents also mentions two people who tried to save Priyantha but were tossed aside by the mob while one was also injured.

Lynchings are common in Pakistan where many from the Sunni Muslim majority community are ultra-sensitive towards any comments or actions which are opposed to what they believe.

A report by Pakistan media said that barring one foot, Priyantha’s entire body was charred. His spinal cord broke in three places and all his bones were broken. The mob piled tyres over his body before setting it on fire. The Sri Lankan also sustained injuries to his vital organs, liver, stomach and as well as to one of his kidneys.

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