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Sri Lanka buries Priyantha Kumara in native village with state honours

09 Dec, 2021
Nilushi, the wife of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara, who was beaten to death and burnt by a mob in Sialkot last Friday, cries in front of his casket during the funeral at the cemetery in Ganemulla, Sri Lanka on December 8, 2021. — Reuters
Nilushi, the wife of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara, who was beaten to death and burnt by a mob in Sialkot last Friday, cries in front of his casket during the funeral at the cemetery in Ganemulla, Sri Lanka on December 8, 2021. — Reuters

The body of a Sri Lankan national who was tortured and set on fire by a mob in Pakistan for alleged blasphemy was buried in his native village with state honors on Wednesday.

Buddhist clergy performed religious rites at the home of 49-year-oldd factory manager Priyantha Kumara before police led a procession in which family and friends carried the casket with his charred remains to the cemetery.

Kumara was assaulted by a mob of hundreds of people and was dragged into the street and set on fire last Friday in Sialkot, Pakistan, where he helped run a sports equipment factory. Workers at the factory accused him of desecrating posters bearing the name of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

The victim’s brother, who also works as a technical director at a garment factory in Pakistan, said factories should have a secure environment. “That was not happening in this particular case,” he said.

He called for an improvement in management practices so any dispute can be resolved before it is too late. He said the two governments should determine “the actual root cause for this, either if it’s a religious matter or an industrial dispute, and accordingly they have to find a solution.”

Pakistani police have arrested dozens of people in connection with the violence, and Prime Minister Imran Khan has promised severe punishment for those found guilty.