Fact check: This is not the grieving mother of a Sri Lankan man lynched in Pakistan | #socialmedia

Priyantha Kumara Diyawadana, a 48-year-old Sri Lankan man was lynched and burned to death by a mob in Pakistan’s Sialkot for alleged blasphemy on December 3, 2021. A video of a mob dragging the man’s bruised body on the street went viral on social media. Now a photograph is being circulated with the claim that it shows the mother of the man crying in front of his charred body.

One such post can be seen below.

India Today Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) has found that the claim and the image is misleading. This is an old photo from a protest where an effigy of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was burned.

The archived versions of similar posts can be seen here and here.

AFWA probe

We did a reverse search of the image and found that the original version (without filters) has been carried by multiple social media handles over the last several months.

The photo was also carried in a report by City 42, a media outlet in Pakistan on July 9, 2020. In this version, it can be clearly seen that the woman is sitting in front of an effigy and not a body.

According to the report, the woman seen in the image is Afshan Latif, a former superintendent of a government-run welfare center for destitute women, and she has been constantly making accusations on social media against top government officials, including Imran Khan.

Taking a cue from this, we searched and found multiple reports by Pakistan’s mainstream media outlets about Afshan Latif. According to these reports, Afshan Latif had alleged in 2019 that the welfare centre where she had been a superintendent was being used to supply underage orphan girls to powerful ministers. Over the years, she has been holding multiple protests and online campaigns against the ministers and government departments.

We further found a Twitter handle under Afshan Latif’s name which had multiple pictures and videos of protests by the same woman seen in the viral image.

On July 8, 2020, the handle had also uploaded a video of Latif in the same attire as seen in the viral image. The burning effigy can also be seen in this video.

The caption of the video in Urdu translates to: “Tying a rope around Imran Khan’s neck, Afshan Latif is burning his effigy outside the Governor House after stomping on it and dragging it from the Lahore Assembly to Mall Road.”
A comparison between the viral image and a screenshot from the Twitter video can be seen here.

A comparison between the viral image and a screenshot from the Twitter video can be seen here.

Sri Lankan man mob lynched in Sialkot

Priyantha Kumara, a Sri Lankan, was working as a manager at a local factory in Pakistan’s Sialkot when on December 3, 2021, a mob tortured and burnt him to death for allegedly desecrating posters with the name of Prophet Muhammad, according to reports. Several people were arrested in the aftermath of the incident.

The image of Priyantha Kumara’s mother crying near his coffin after it was returned to Sri Lanka was carried by the Associated Press.


A similar claim was earlier fact-checked by AFP.

It is hence clear that the viral photo in question is not related to the lynching of Priyantha Kumara but is from a protest where an effigy of Pak PM Imran Khan was set on fire.

ClaimThis viral photo shows the mother of a Sri Lankan man, lynched by a mob in Pakistan over blasphemy allegations, grieving near his charred body. ConclusionThis image is from a 2020 protest where an effigy of Pakistan PM Imran Khan was burnt in Lahore while Priyantha Kumara Diyawadana was a Sri Lankan man who was lynched by a mob in Pakistan’s Sialkot for alleged blasphemy on December 3, 2021.


The number of crows determines the intensity of the lie.

  • 1 Crow: Half True
  • 2 Crows: Mostly lies
  • 3 Crows: Absolutely false

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