Sri Lankan national lynched over blasphemy in Pak buried near Colombo

Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara Diyawadana, who was lynched by a mob in Pakistan’s Punjab province over allegations of blasphemy last week, was buried according to Buddhist and Catholic rites at Ganemulla, a suburb north of Colombo, on Wednesday.

IMAGE: Mother of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara, who was lynched and burnt by the mob in Punjab province on December 3, reacts in front of his casket during the funeral in Ganemulla, Sri Lanka, December 8, 2021. Photograph: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

In a shocking incident on December 3, supporters of the radical Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan attacked a garment factory in Sialkot in Pakistan and lynched its general manager Diyawadana, 49, before setting his body on fire over allegations of blasphemy.


His mortal remains were brought to Colombo on Monday by the national carrier Srilankan Airlines at state cost. The body was released to the family on Tuesday.

A private funeral under COVID restrictions was held on Wednesday with some dignitaries paying their last respects.

He was buried at Ganemulla, a suburb north of Colombo. The majority Buddhist priests and the Catholic minority priests were in attendance and conducted their respective religious proceedings.

Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena was among those who visited the victim’s house to pay his last respects.

In the morning, parliamentarians taking part in the annual budget debate took time off to refer to the brutal killing of Diyawadana and paid tribute to him.

Both the ruling and opposition lawmakers demanded an apology from Pakistan’s Defence Minister Pervez Khattak for his insensitive remarks on the lynching of the Sri Lankan national by the frenzied mob.

Khattak on Monday said the ghastly lynching of the Sri Lankan national at the hands of a mob in Sialkot should not be linked to the Pakistan government’s recent decision to lift the ban on the TLP, saying even ‘murders take place’ when young people get emotional.

The Sri Lankan cabinet on Tuesday approved Sri Lankan rupee 2.5 million ($12,500) as compensation to the family of Diyawadana.

Diyawadana is survived by his wife and two sons aged 14 and 9.

Nilushi Kumara, the widow of the Sri Lankan export manager, has appealed to the Pakistani government for justice and compensation over her husband’s killing and urged for the safety of all Sri Lankans on Pakistani soil.

Diyawadana had gone to Pakistan in 2011 after he got a job as a mechanical engineer at an apparel factory in Faisalabad. After a year, he joined Sialkot’s Rajco Industries as its general manager and was the only Sri Lankan national working in the factory.

The Sri Lankan Parliament, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa have condemned the brutal killing and have expressed hope that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government would bring the guilty to justice.

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