Sialkot lynching: Police chief says 85 played central role thumbnail

Sialkot lynching: Police chief says 85 played central role

Sialkot police chief has said that 85 people played a central role in the lynching of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara in Sialkot on December 3 and all of them have been arrested.

Speaking exclusively to SAMAA TV‘s Shehzad Ali, Sialkot District Police Officer (DPO) Omar Saeed said the police were pursuing the investigations in a careful manner to avoid any flaws that may help the accused to evade justice. 

He rejected the reports that the police response to the incident was delayed. Saeed said the police were informed at 1126am about the brawl at the Rajcto Industries, and by then Priyantha Kumara had died. 

The police chief said that Priyantha died at 1105am after being lynched by the mob, which set his body on fire.

Saeed said they were also investigating why the police were not informed for 75 minutes. 

“Perhaps CCTV cameras were not being monitored, or the factory workers at the lower floor were unaware” of what was happening at the rooftop, he said.

Priyantha Kumara had tried to hide under the solar panels at his factory’s rooftop after he was accused of blasphemy by some of the factory workers. A video shows his colleague, Adnan Malik, trying to shield him against the mob assault as Priyantha clings to Malik’s legs.

The mob reportedly snatched him from Adnan and threw him down to the ground before setting his body on fire on the road.

DPO Saeed said after the police were informed, officers arrived at the scene only with a delay of five minutes. And that delay was caused because workers had gathered on the road, he said.

He said the police will also investigate the factory management and workers in connection with the lynching of Priaynatha.

The DPO said that no one could be forced to appear before the court of law as a witness and all the testimonies would be given voluntarily.

Silakot police had registered a case against 800 unidentified people after the lynching earlier this month. It subsequently detained nearly 182 people, most of whom were identified from CCTV footages and mobile videos.

The police has released 62 of them after no evidence was found against them, Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat told a press conference on Thursday.

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