The Gujranwala anti-terrorism court has remanded 26 suspects, arrested for their “central role” in lynching Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara, into police custody for 15 days.
Judge Natasha Naseem heard the case on Monday and talked to the suspects. During the proceedings, it was found that one of the men, identified as Shoaib, was speech-impaired since birth.
It was also observed that the ages of all the suspects were less than 25 years.
At the police’s request, the court granted the authorities 15 days to question and investigate the accused men. They have been summoned again on December 21.
According to the DPO of Sialkot, the total number of arrests in the case has increased to 131 as the Sialkot police tighten the noose around the perpetrators by conducting raids. He said that the main suspects were hiding at the homes of their families and friends. They were identified through CCTV footage.
The DPO added that Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar is overseeing the case and investigations himself.
Earlier, the Sialkot police issued a statement giving the following details.
- At 11:30am, the police received information about a brawl and torture of a worker in a factory located at the Wazirabad Road. Ugoki Police Station SHO arrived at the scene by 11:50am and found that some incensed people had set a person on fire. The police doused the flames.
- After getting the report of the unfortunate incident, the DPO Sialkot and other police officials arrived at the scene and controlled the situation.
- The police have registered an FIR No. 1412 under sections 431, 427, 149, 147, 297, 201, 302, and 7ATA at Ugoki Police station against unidentified people and have launched an investigation.
- At least ten investigation teams have been formed under the DPO and they are carrying out raids to arrest the accused who are being identified from the [viral] videos.
On Monday, the victim’s remains were handed over to the Sri Lankan High Commission in Islamabad by Chairperson Pakistan Ulema Council Maulana Tahir Ashrafi. The commission’s staff accompanied the body to Colombo.
The incident on Friday shocked the nation. Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack on Twitter. He said it was “a day of shame” for the country and everyone involved would be arrested.