Friday, March 17, 2023

The Horrific Lynching of Sri Lankan national, Priyantha Kumara -PM Imran Khan and Pakistani people will take Extraordinary Steps to Stand against Violence and Extremism

On Friday, December 3, 2021, Priyantha Kumara, a Sri Lankan national was murdered by a mob of violent men in Sialkot. The angry mob accused Priyantha Kumara of the allegations of blasphemy. The violent mob took no time before killing Priyantha and later on burning his body in the road. This brutal lynching is said to be the work of Tehreek-e–Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), a radical Islamist party that is famous for its violence and creating chaos in the country. However, the TLP has not taken any responsibility for the horrific incident.

The details of the incident are inhumane and extremely brutal. The videos of the incident went viral and public reaction immediately made it to social media. The violent mob was seen to be set on murdering Priyantha Kumara and no remorse could be seen on their faces. The brutal lynching has left many Pakistanis speechless because of the horrific details and lunacy of the crowd. Hundreds of men gathered in front of the factory on Friday morning while chanting slogans against Priyantha Kumara claiming blasphemous conduct against Islam and Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The investigations are underway and many of the men from the mob has been identified and arrested.

Who was Priyantha Kumara?

Priyantha Kumara was a Sri Lankan national working as a manager in a garment factory in Sialkot, Pakistan. His hometown was Ganmulla. Gampaha district, Sri Lanka. He had a wife and two sons, aged 14 and 19. He specialized in production engineering at the University of Peradeniya. He started working in Pakistan in 2010. In 2012, he joined Rajco sporting goods Manufacturing company where he started as an engineer and was promoted to manager over the years.

Pakistan’s Public Reaction

Although the incident is horrific, it is not the first one. There have been cases of similar brutal lynching of many Pakistanis who were brutally murdered by a violent mob over the allegations of blasphemy. In 2009, six Christians were murdered as a result of brutal lynching and burning of a Christian locality in Gojra.

Similarly, Christians from Joseph colony, Lahore became the target of hate crime against minorities. Pakistan has seen many brutal lynching incidents against mosques, churches, temples, public figures, and the general public has been seen in the past few decades. The hate is not only directed towards people from other religions but many Muslim minorities and Muslims have lost their lives to the growing extremism in the country.

Mashal Khan’s case is a recent example. Even though the extremist mob mentality has spread largely, there is still a chance to make it right by giving strict punishments for hate crimes, taking the law into hands, racism, religious discrimination, and harassment. The presence of fear of consequences among the public is essential to maintain law and order in the country.

No sane Pakistani will ever support such brutality and irrational conduct for anyone – be it Pakistani or any other national. However, intolerance and extremism in the country have been on the rise, which has given way for many extremist and violent groups to spread violence.

The public is enraged over the brutal lynching of Priyantha’s murder. They have recorded their protest on social media. Similarly, all political figures have condemned the action and have demanded justice for Priyantha Kumara.

The law enforcement agencies have also been working to identify and arrest all the culprits from the mob of hundreds of violent men. Not only this, there has been an extensive investigation going on to get to the details of the horrific incident.

The Public’s outcry on social media is the only beacon of hope against the growing radicalism and extremism in the country. Additionally, people like Malik Adnan act as the only hope for humanity.

He took a stand for Priyantha Kumara against the violent and deadly crowd and tried saving a life from brutal lynching. It was humanity that gave Malik Adnan the courage to stand against a violent mob. He showed the true spirit of Islam and practiced the teaching of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) against the crowd that was chanting slogans in His (PBUH) name while violently killing a man.

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The reaction of Higher Authorities

Police have lodged an FIR against 900 men that were identified in the mob. Among these 900 men, 200+ men have been arrested and the police are on the move to arrest the others. The FIR has been registered under sections 302, 297, 201, 427, 431, 157, 149 of the Pakistan Penal Code and 7 and 11WW of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Khuwaja Asif (PML-N MNA) visited the factory to inquire about the incident and showed support to the family of  Priyantha Kumara. Usman Buzdar, Chief Minister Punjab has been looking over the case. Special Assistant to CM Punjab, Hassan Khawar in an interview on December 4 stated that 118 people have been arrested so far and that more arrests will be carried out to punish every person involved in the murder. Similarly, PM Imran Khan is also involved in the case and has vowed to punish the culprits.

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Since Priyantha was a Sri Lankan national, Sri Lankan authorities and the government are also following the case. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has also strictly condemned the incident and urged the authorities to take strict and timely action. Sri Lankan High commissioner Mohan Wijewickrama is satisfied with Pakistan’s investigation of the case and actions taken by Pakistani authorities till now.

There were speculations of the weakening of Pakistan and Sri Lanka’s ties after the incident. However, the brutal lynching of Sri Lankan national was not an attack on Sri Lanka but it was a display of inhumanity and extremism by a violent mob. Therefore, it is important to punish the culprits to curb growing extremism in the country.

As unfortunate and brutal as the incident was, it is extremely important to punish the culprits of Priyantha Kumara. The Pakistani government is taking the murder of a Sri Lankan national seriously and has promised the arrest of everyone involved. Pakistan has seen many similar incidents of brutal lynching. It not only negatively highlights Pakistan but also comprises the law and order situation in the country. It is about time to take strict measures to curb the growing extremism and misuse of Islamic laws for personal benefit.

Priyantha Kumara

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