Mosque, Shops, Attacked In Anti-Muslim Riots In Sri-Lanka


Sri Lanka government declared a state of emergency and imposed curfews in Kandy to quell four days of riots that left three people dead and over 200 Muslim-owned businesses, homes and vehicles set ablaze.

Deadly communal clashes erupted in Kandy on Sunday evening after a road rage incident left a 41-year-old Sinhala Buddhist man dead after being attacked by a group of people on Feb 22.

Tensions remain high across Sri Lanka after the violence broke out following the death of a man from the mainly Buddhist Sinhalese majority last week.

"There were no incidents during the Friday prayers", a police official in Colombo said, adding that investigators had stepped up the search for those who took part in the violence.

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He drew similarity to state that "It is precisely these conditions culminating in periodic anti-Tamil pogroms, which ultimately led to the three-decade long civil war, the effects of which the country is still struggling to overcome".

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Saturday appointed a panel to probe the recent anti-Muslim attacks in Kandy district. A night curfew has been imposed in the city.

The military maintained a heavy deployment in Kandy and schools remained shut, but authorities said they will reopen after the weekend.

Sri Lanka's telecoms regulator asked internet providers to block access to Facebook and other social media platforms to prevent the spread of anti-Muslim hate speech.

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The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) said the decision to continue the suspension was made at the request of the Ministry of Defence. India, already concerned about China's growing influence in Sri Lanka, will be anxious by any strife with ramifications for regional security.

Sinhalese Buddhists are the majority ethnic group in Sri Lanka, making up 75 percent of its 21 million people. Most are Buddhists. Muslims account for 10 per cent of the population.

Parliament on Tuesday issued an apology to the island's Muslim minority for the latest violence targeting them in the Indian Ocean island.

Hundreds of Buddhist monks and activists staged demonstrations in Colombo on Friday denouncing the anti-Muslim attacks and urging authorities to take strong action against the perpetrators.

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