Sri Lanka declares state of emergency to quell anti-Muslim riots

Marsha Scott
March 7, 2018

Sri Lankan authorities on Monday imposed a curfew in the town of Kandy, following a series of anti-Muslim attacks targeting mosques, shops and homes.

The decision comes after the government deployed elite police to quell communal violence in the center of the country.

Police had been placed on alert in Kandy, home to famous tea plantations and Buddhist relics, to ensure that the "situation does not spiral into inter-communal conflagration", the government said. He said some people were instigating violence through Facebook and warned of tough action against them, according to Reuters. Clashes first erupted in the city's Digana area on Sunday night after a 41-year-old man succumbed to injuries at a hospital after being attacked by a group of people over an incident involving two vehicles on February 22.

The statement from Sirisena's office came after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in Parliament that the government was considering imposing a state of emergency. "But a state of emergency must not become a pretext for further human rights abuses", he said.

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Muslims make up about 10% of Sri Lanka's population, while the mainly Buddhist Sinhalese population constitute almost three-quarters of the island state's 21 million people. The action could have been taken sooner to prevent clashes.

Last week, mobs set fire to Muslim-owned businesses and attacked a mosque in the east of the country after a Muslim chef was accused of adding contraceptives to food sold to Sinhalese, the island's Buddhist majority. Buddhists make up about 70 percent and ethnic Tamils, most of whom are Hindus, about 13 percent.

"The Government urges every citizen of Sri Lanka to desist from falling prey to such hate and misinformation campaigns".

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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