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Pakistan’s court to start a trial for Sir Lankan’s lynching case from next week

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LAHORE: Two months after he was lynched and beaten to death, the murder trial of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara will commence at the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Pakistan next week.

49 years old Priyantha Kumara Diyawadana was a Sri Lankan man who was lynched by a mob in Sialkot, Pakistan over allegations of blasphemy on December 3 last year.

Kumara, who was a Buddhist by faith and had lived and worked in Pakistan for eleven years, was beaten, killed, and later set on fire by a mob.

He had been accused of blasphemy for removing a poster featuring religious content. It was later revealed that Kumara had removed the poster due to pending renovation work in the building.

According to Pakistan’s eastern province Punjab police, an investigation has been completed and the case challan has been submitted to the prosecution. More than 80 men, identified via CCTV footage, have been named.

Priyantha who was working as a factory manager at Rajco Industries in Sialkot was lynched and his body was set on fire by workers over blasphemy allegations.

An anti-terrorism court of Gujranwala was hearing the case. Local media reported that the suspects have been moved to the prison, where the trial will be held.

A three-member special prosecution team led by Special Prosecutor General Abdur Rauf Watto has been pursuing the case. The government has directed the prosecution team to submit the daily progress report of the case to Prosecutor General Punjab.

After the incident was reported, the police had rounded up over 200 people for questioning. Most of them were, however, released after investigators analyzed CCTV and phone videos and no corroborating evidence was found against them. 

A week after the murder, Pakistan observed the Day of Condemnation and religious scholars held a press conference to denounce the lynching.

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