Muslim homes, business and mosques were badly damaged in riots Monday triggered by the death of a Sinhalese man at the hands of a mob last week.
Sri Lanka has declared a state of emergency for 10 days to rein in the spread of communal violence, a government spokesman said on Tuesday, a day after Buddhists and Muslims clashed in the Indian Ocean island’s central district of Kandy.
Tension has been growing between the two communities in Sri Lanka over the past year, with some hardline Buddhist groups accusing Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam and vandalising Buddhist archaeological sites.
Speaking to journalists outside the President’s Secretariat, where the Cabinet Meeting was held, Minister Dissanayake said a Gazette Notice in this regard would be issued right away. Colombo based DailyMirror.lk quoted him as saying, “There are allegations that the law was not implemented to minimize the impact of these tense situations. Now, the Police and Army personnel had been deployed to respective areas to beef up security.”
According to reports, Muslim homes, business and mosques were badly damaged in riots Monday triggered by the death of a Sinhalese man at the hands of a mob last week. The Sinhalese are a mainly Buddhist ethnic group making up nearly three-quarters of Sri Lanka’s 21 million people. Muslims are just 10 percent of its population.
More than two dozen arrests have been made and an inquiry opened into police conduct in Kandy, just the latest region to be plagued by religious and ethnic conflict.
Mobs set fire to Muslim-owned businesses and attacked a mosque in the east of the country last week after a Muslim chef was accused of adding contraceptives to food sold to Sinhalese.
“It was also decided to take stern action against people who are instigating violence through Facebook,” Dissanayake told journalists, referring to postings on social media. The government sent troops and elite police to Kandy after a mob set fire to a Muslim-owned shop, imposing a curfew there on Monday to prevent clashes between majority Sinhalese Buddhists and minority Muslims.