LAHORE, PAKISTAN — Police have arrested 13 suspects and detained dozens more in the arrest of a Sri Lankan employee at a sports equipment factory in eastern Pakistan, officials said on Thursday. Seven.
A mob of hundreds of outraged Muslims flooded the factory in Sialkot district, Punjab province on Friday after the Sri Lankan factory manager was accused of blasphemy.
According to police, the mob grabbed Priyantha Kumara, tied him up, and burned his body openly. Factory workers accused the victim of insulting posters bearing the name of the Prophet Muhammad of Islam.
Punjab Police Chief Rao Sardar said on Saturday that investigators had arrested the prominent suspects after seeing their apparent role on video in inciting worker violence, killing managers and manipulating workers. his body out, take a selfie with his burning body and proudly admit what they did.
Sardar, in his initial report to authorities, said the victim had asked workers to remove all stickers from the factory’s machinery before a foreign delegation arrived. It said the incident started around 11 a.m. and three policemen arrived at the factory to take control of the situation shortly after.
Hassan Khawar, a spokesman for the Punjab government, said the provincial police chief was personally overseeing the investigation.
Khurram Shahzad, a police official in Sialkot district, said 123 suspects have been detained in the ongoing raids.
The act of secession was widely condemned by Pakistan’s military and political leadership, prominent social and religious figures, and members of civil society.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Sugeeswara Gunaratne on Friday said the Sri Lankan embassy in Islamabad was verifying the details of the incident with Pakistani authorities.
In Pakistan’s conservative society, accusations of blasphemy only invite mobs to attack. The country’s blasphemy laws apply the death penalty to anyone found guilty of a violation.
Friday’s attack comes less than a week after a Muslim mob torched police stations and four police stations in northwest Pakistan after officers refused to hand over a mentally unstable man. god accused of insulting Islam’s holy book, the Quran.
No officers were injured in the attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The Pakistani government has long been under pressure to change the country’s blasphemy laws, which Muslims vehemently oppose.
A Punjab governor 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 and after threats, she left Pakistan for Canada to be with her family.
Associated Press writer Asim Tanveer in Multan, Pakistan contributed.