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Lynching victim Priyantha Kumara’s remains brought back to a shocked Sri Lanka

Sri Lankans protest over the horrific lynching of Priyantha Kumara in Sialkot, Pakistan (Photo courtesy: Daily Mirror)

The remains of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara, who was lynched and burnt by a mob in Sialkot, Pakistan, on Friday were flown back to Sri Lanka from Lahore's Allama Iqbal International Airport on Monday.

Kumara, an engineer and a manager at a Pakistan garments factory, was brutally killed by a mob consisting of factory workers on allegations of blasphemy. Some of the workers alleged that Kumara had torn off a poster with Quranic verses written on it which invited attacks from the mob.

Punjab minister for minority affairs Ejaz Alam Augustine visited the Lahore airport to see off the remains of the Sri Lankan engineer. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan's special representative on religious harmony Hafiz Mohammad Tahir Ashrafi also came to the airport.

The Sri Lankan High Commission in Islamabad tweeted: "Remains of Diyawadanage Don Priyantha Kumar killed by a mob in Sialkot Pakistan was transferred from Lahore to Colombo by SriLankan Airlines this afternoon".

In Sri Lanka, both the government and the people were united in demanding justice for Kumara. Various organisations held demonstrations outside the Pakistan High Commission seeking justice for Kumara.

Sri Lankan newspaper Daily Mirror carried a photo-story on the protests against Pakistan in Colombo.

Under pressure from Sri Lanka and also the Pakistani civil society, the Punjab police arrested a total of 131 people related to the lynching. The gruesome incident has shaken expat Pakistanis in the US, who now fear that the nation's image will be sullied further.

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar told Pakistani newspaper Dawn : "[We] equally share in the grief of the Sri Lankan government, nation and the bereaved family over the murder of Sri Lankan citizen Priyantha Kumara".

The Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Pakistan, Vice Admiral Mohan Wijewickrama has expressed satisfaction over Pakistan's response to Kumara's killing and said that the incident would not affect the friendly relations between the two allies.

The high commissioner added that the two governments are in discussions over compensation for Kumara's family–his wife and two young children.

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