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The Financial Express

Sri Lanka announces state of emergency following Buddhist-Muslim clash

| Updated: March 07, 2018 11:07:10


Muslims stand next to a burnt shop after a clash between Buddhists and Muslims in Aluthgama, Sri Lanka, June 16, 2014. Reuters file photo used for representational purpose. Muslims stand next to a burnt shop after a clash between Buddhists and Muslims in Aluthgama, Sri Lanka, June 16, 2014. Reuters file photo used for representational purpose.

Sri Lankan government has declared a state of emergency for 10 days to rein in the spread of communal violence, a government spokesman said on Tuesday.

The emergency has been announced 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 hard-line Buddhist groups accusing Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam and vandalising Buddhist archaeological sites, reports Reuters.

Some Buddhist nationalists have also protested against the presence in Sri Lanka of Muslim Rohingya asylum-seekers from mostly Buddhist Myanmar, where Buddhist nationalism has also been on the rise.

“At a special cabinet meeting, it was decided to declare a state of emergency for 10 days to prevent the spread of communal riots to other parts of the country,” the spokesman, Dayasiri Jayasekara said.

“It was also decided to take stern action against people who are instigating violence through Facebook,” he added, 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.

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