Colombo: Sri Lanka imposed curfew in a central hill station town named ‘Kandy’ after the prevalence of communal turbulence owing to religious antagonism, reason being; a man killed and Muslims businesses set ablaze. It is the latest region to be afflicted by religious and ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, a nation of 21 million people.
Therefore, police had been placed on alert in Kandy; a home to famous tea plantations and Buddhist antiquities, in order to ensure that the “situation does not spiral into inter communal conflagration,” the government said.
“The government appeals to all parties and especially the general public to act with responsibility and remain calm,” it said in a statement.
Police reported that there had been riots and arson attacks since the weekend in Kandy.
Mobs aflamed Muslim owned businesses and attacked a mosque in the east of the country last week after a Muslim chef was condemned for adding contraceptives to food sold to Sinhalese.
The government dismissed the allegation as groundless and ordered the arrest of those provoking anarchy in the vicinity.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also ordered a full-fledged investigation into alleged police inaction in handling the clash.
Just a couple of months ago, last November riots & uncalled turmoil in the south of the island left one man dead, and homes and vehicles vandalized.
“The curfew was imposed to control the situation in the area,” said police spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekera.
Local officials claimed over two dozen suspects having been apprehended by police in connection with a deluge of arson attacks and for fomenting unrest in the vicinity, while senior officers had also launched a thorough investigation into the conduct of police.
The violence and savagery had aggravated ever since a man from the island’s mainly Buddhist Sinhalese majority died at the weekend from injuries sustained during a riot last week. This can get deadly in Sri Lanka, where Muslims constitute for 10% of the population and Sinhalese make up for almost 75% of the remaining.
Earlier, in June 2014, the deadly riots between Buddhists and Muslims left four dead and many injured.
That violence was stemmed by a Buddhist extremist group whose leaders are on trial accused of impelling religious conflict.
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 vandalizing Buddhist archaeological sites.
“At a special cabinet meeting, it was decided to declare a state of emergency for 10 days to rein in the spread of communal riots to other parts of the country,” the spokesman, Dayasiri Jayasekara, told a wire service.
“It was also decided to take stern action against people who are instigating violence through Facebook,” he added, referring to various postings on social media.