Sialkot police on Friday claimed to have arrested 33 additional major suspects in the lynching of Priyantha Kumara, a 49-year-old Sri Lankan factory manager.

On December 3, a mob of hundreds of protesters, including workers of the plant where Kumara worked, tortured him to death and then burned his corpse.

The assassination prompted considerable criticism from lawmakers and human rights organisations.

A first information report was registered against 900 workers of Rajco Industries on the application of Uggoki Station House Officer Armaghan Maqt under sections 302, 297, 201, 427, 431, 157, 149 of the Pakistan Penal Code and 7 and 11WW of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

The 33 suspects will be presented at the anti-terrorism court in Gujranwala today, according to investigator Tariq Mahmood. He said that the court had already ordered the remand of 52 suspects.

He says that so far, 85 people have been detained in connection with the investigation.

‘Horrific vigilante attack’

The act sparked considerable indignation and condemnation throughout Pakistan, with politicians, intellectuals, and members of civil society demanding for the perpetrators to face quick justice.

Prime Minister Imran Khan described the “horrific vigilante attack” as a “day of shame for Pakistan.” “I am overseeing the investigations & let there be no mistake all those responsible will be punished with full severity of the law. Arrests are in progress,” he tweeted.

Kumara’s remains were repatriated to Sri Lanka on December 6, and a memorial service was conducted for him at the Prime Minister’s House the next day.

Following the event, the government’s political and military leadership agreed to undertake a “comprehensive strategy” to combat religious extremism and vigilantism.


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