Sri Lanka: Arjuna Ranatunga, a former cricketer who went on to become a politician in Sri Lanka, has congratulated Prime Minister Imran Khan for his attempts to uncover all those responsible for the lynching of a Sri Lankan man in Sialkot earlier this month, as well as his support for the victim’s family.
On December 3, Priyantha Kumara, a 49-year-old Sri Lankan factory manager, was lynched by a crowd of hundreds of demonstrators, including employees from the firm where he worked. He was tortured to death by the mob, who then burned his body.
On the plea of Uggoki Station House Officer Armaghan Maqt, a first information report was filed against 900 Rajco Industries employees under sections 302, 297, 201, 427, 431, 157, 149 of the Pakistan Penal Code and 7 and 11WW of the Anti-Terrorism Act. In the days that followed, a large number of individuals were apprehended.
The act sparked considerable indignation and condemnation across Pakistan, with politicians, academics, and members of civil society demanding for the offenders to face quick punishment.
Prime Minister Imran Khan described the “horrific vigilante attack” as a “day of disgrace for Pakistan.” “I am in charge of the investigations, and make no mistake: those who are responsible will face the full force of the law.” “Arrests are being made,” he tweeted.
On Monday, the Sri Lankan cricket icon expressed gratitude to the prime minister for his acts.
“Thank you for all your efforts in bringing justice for Priyantha Diyawadanage’s crime, as well as for your continuous support and commitment to his family,” he tweeted.
He emphasised that such vigilante violence should be strongly denounced, and that an entire nation should not be judged based on the conduct of a “tiny percentage of the population.”
He said Pakistan and Sri Lanka had a long-standing friendship and tie built on “strength and solidarity,” recalling times when the two countries had stepped in to help each other.
“Whether it’s on the cricket field or in politics, you (Imran Khan) have always been unflappable in the face of adversity. Since becoming Pakistan’s prime minister, you’ve been cautiously addressing certain contentious problems in the country.
“In the same way,” he remarked, “I hope you will be able to teach the few misguided individuals within the Pakistani community to treat everyone with the respect and dignity that all human beings deserve.”
The former skipper expressed his gratitude for the prime minister’s efforts to ensure justice, and noted that the Sri Lankan country respected the prime minister’s wishes for the deceased’s family’s future.
“Every penny donated will go a long way toward helping Priyantha’s wife and children. Your ongoing support, as well as Pakistanis’ actions, will go a long way toward assisting the family in recovering from this horrible ordeal.”
Kumara’s body was returned to Sri Lanka on December 6, and a memorial service was held for him the next day at the Prime Minister’s House, where politicians and high-ranking officials paid respect to him.
Last week, the government’s political and military officials resolved to undertake a “comprehensive approach” to combat religious extremism and vigilantism in the aftermath of the tragedy.