Communal riots engulf Sri Lanka despite nationwide curfew, mobs kill one, social media banned

 Tuesday, May 14, 2019 


Mobs slashed to death a 45-year-old Sri Lankan Muslim man despite a nationwide curfew imposed Monday night. He died after admission to a hospital in Puttalam district during the rioting which began Sunday in the area. Communal riots have penetrated various districts of Sri Lanka.




Anti-Muslim riots spread to three districts north of the capital in a violent backlash against Easter suicide bombings. Three districts were brought under a curfew earlier in the day in response to Christian-led mob attacks on several Muslim-owned businesses and mosques.




The Sri Lankan authorities on Monday enforced a six-hour countrywide curfew as communal violence continued to blaze through the island nation. It is the latest fallout from the Easter Sunday suicide bombings, which killed nearly 260 people. The curfew had been imposed from 9 p.m. Monday to 4 a.m. Tuesday.





The police reimposed a curfew, few hours after it was lifted, on four towns of Kuliyapitiya, Bingiriya, Dummalasuriya and Hettipola in the north western region till 4 a.m. Tuesday following a communal clash in the area. It was later extended to the entire North Western Province as violence continued to spread.




Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also appealed for calm after the unrest broke out, especially in Kurunegala district targeting Muslims, and appealed to the public not to be swayed by false information.




He said: “I appeal to all citizens to remain calm and not be swayed by false information. Security forces are working tirelessly to apprehend terrorists and ensure the security of the country, but each time there is civil unrest, we increase their burden and hamper ongoing investigations”.




The violence is a new backlash from the Easter attacks where nine suicide bombers, including a woman, carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through three churches and three luxury hotels, killing 253 people and injuring over 500 others.




Amidst the communal riots, tourism takes a back seat. Earlier Monday, authorities banned Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media platforms in an attempt to curb riots.



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