Lahore/New Delhi | Jagran World Desk: A Sri Lankan national was lynched to death by a violent mob in Pakistan’s Sialkot district on Friday over alleged blasphemy suspicions. The body of lynched man, identified as Priyantha Kumara, the General Manager of Rajko Industries in Sialkot, was then set on fire and turned to ashes in minutes, reports said.

The visuals that went viral on social media showed individuals clicking selfies with the burning corpse of Sri Lankan national.

"Mr Kumara allegedly tore a poster of the hardline Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) in which Quranic verses were inscribed and threw it in the dustbin. The poster of the Islamist party was pasted on the wall adjoining the office of Kumara. A couple of factory workers saw him removing the poster and spread the word in the factory," a Police official of Pakistan’s Punjab province was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

Hundreds of men, most of them the activists and supporters of the TLP, enraged over the “blasphemy” incident, started gathering outside the factory of Rajko Industries from adjoining areas.

"The mob dragged the suspect (the Sri Lankan national) from the factory and severely tortured him. After he succumbed to his wounds, the mob burnt his body before police reached there," the official quoted above further told PTI.

Several videos were circulated on social media showing hundreds of men gathered at the site surrounding the body of the Sri Lankan national. They were chanting slogans of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan.

Meanwhile, a report in The Dawn quoted an official as saying that a total of 50 individuals have been arrested so far and hunt was on for other constituents of the mob.

The Imran Khan government had recently lifted a ban on the TLP after signing a secret agreement with it after which its chief Saad Rizvi and over 1,500 activists accused of terrorism were released from jail.

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar termed it a very tragic incident and ordered the Inspector General of Police to investigate the matter and report him within 24 hours.

"Every aspect of the incident should be investigated and a report should be submitted. Action should be taken against those who take the law into their own hands," the chief minister said in an official statement.

Pakistan has extremely strict laws against defaming Islam, including the death penalty.

A US government advisory panel report had earlier found Pakistan using blasphemy laws more than any other country in the world.

Among the most high-profile murders over blasphemy in Pakistan, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer was shot dead by his own guard in 2011, after he defended a Christian woman, Aasia Bibi, who was accused of blasphemy. She was acquitted after eight years on death row following which she left Pakistan for Canada to join her family with the help of rights groups.

With inputs from PTI

Posted By: Mukul Sharma