A day after blasphemy allegations spurred the spine-chilling incident of mob lynching of Sri Lankan factory manager in Sialkot and jolted the entire nation, heartening footage came to the fore on Saturday showing a colleague of the man facing down a wild-eyed, rabid mob to protect the man they were after.
In CCTV footage, obtained by The Express Tribune, Malik Adnan, the colleague of the Sri Lankan man, is seen confronting a group of angry men all by himself and making desperate attempts to avert the flare-up.
He is then seen trying to shield the man from the angry mob, who are baying for blood.
A hero stood between a bloodthirsty mob and an innocent man with footage of a factory colleague trying to protect the Sialkot lynching victim Priyantha Kumara from a mob which later brutally killed him and then set his body ablaze going viral on Saturday. #etribune pic.twitter.com/UNDHkWG7Af— The Express Tribune (@etribune) December 4, 2021
The nation was left shell-shocked on Friday when a Sri Lankan national, identified as Diyawadanage
Don Nandasri Priyantha, was brutally lynched before being set ablaze by a mob in Sialkot.
In the clip, capturing the events leading up to the horrific lynching, Adnan can be seen trying to protect Diyawadanage who had rushed up to the roof of the factory as a deluge of a mob continued to flood the premises.
Some among the mob can be heard chanting slogans and saying "he (the manager) will not escape today," while the colleague tried to shield Diyawadanage before being drowned out by the truculent and enraged mob.Diyawadanage was then dragged out on the road and tortured with kicks, stones and iron rods, killing him on the spot and setting his corpse on fire.
Videos shared on social media showed hundreds of men and young boys gathered at the site, with groups of them chanting slogans.
The striking clip has also gone viral on social media, drawing numerous reactions on Twitter, with many posts calling the man a hero.
'Personal vendetta led to brutal killing of Sri Lankan national in Sialkot'
While strongly condemning the barbaric act of violence at the factory, leading to the brutal killing of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Diyawadana, Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) President Mian Imran Akbar said that "personal vendetta" on part of some labourers in the garb of alleged religious tilt led to the heinous incident.
"Studying the details of the case, it was found that Priyantha was a thorough professional known for his stern production standards," he said in a statement.
Akbar stressed that each faction should abide by laws and ethics to protect the very social fabric of the country, urging the government to crack down on all perpetrators and inciters and bring them to a befitting justice.
He said that an urgent meeting of the business leaders of Sialkot was also convened at the SCCI wherein chairpersons of all trade associations of the city participated and condemned the horrible act.
"The business community resolved to formulate policies to avoid any such incidents in future," he added.
Grieving wife pleads for justice
The grieving wife of Engineer Priyantha Kumara has pleaded for justice for her slain husband from both Pakistani and Sri Lankan leaders.
“I got to know about the brutal murder of my husband from the news, later I saw this on the internet as well. He was a very innocent man” she said, talking to reporters from BBC Sinhala.
“I request leaders of Sri Lanka and Pakistan to do justice for my husband and two children, by bringing the perpetrators to justice”, she went on to say.
Progress made so far
Earlier, police arrested a prime suspect and booked at least 800 others under the Anti-Terrorism Act a day after the brutal incident. The police said Farhan Idrees, the key suspect, has been detained.
They said hundreds of people armed with sticks and batons were present inside the factory at the time of the murder of the foreign national.
After the murder, the mob dragged his body on the streets, the police said, adding that it failed to stop the crowd due to a lack of strength.
As per the initial investigation, the police said that the Sri Lanka citizen was killed over allegations of blasphemy.
They added that they were investigating the matter from all angles.
Meanwhile, an initial report of the incident has been submitted to Prime Minister Imran by the Punjab Police. As per the report, at least 112 suspects have been detained who were identified with the help of the factory managers. The provocateurs have been arrested as well.
Earlier on Saturday, Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to convey the nation's "anger and shame" to the vigilante killing of Priyantha Diyawadana in Sialkot.
"Spoke to Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today in UAE to convey our nation's anger & shame to people of Sri Lanka at vigilante killing of Priyantha Diyawadana in Sialkot," the premier wrote on his official Twitter handle today.
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