Sri Lanka: Nation-wide state of emergency following anti-Muslim violence


Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 06 March 2018| 18 Jumadul Ukhra 1439

Sri Lanka’s government has declared a 10-day state of emergency to “take stern action” against people instigating communal violence, a government spokesman has said.

Soldiers and police were upholding a curfew in Kandy after mobs set fire to shops and a mosque – resulting in the body of a Muslim man being found in the ashes of a burnt building.

Police said on Monday there had been riots and arson attacks since the weekend in Kandy district, while sources said the violence was spreading throughout the South Asian island nation.

In the past, religious and ethnic violence had turned deadly in Sri Lanka, where Muslims account for 10 percent of the 21 million population, and Buddhists Sinhalese make up nearly 75 percent. Another 13 percent of the population are Hindus.

Some observers blame the nationalist Buddhist organisation Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) group for the ongoing violence.

In February 2018, five people were wounded and several shops and a mosque were damaged during a clash between Buddhist and Muslim groups.

In June 2014, an anti-Muslim campaign was launched following the deadly Aluthgama riots.

President Maithripala Siresena had vowed to investigate anti-Muslim crimes after assuming power in 2015, but no significant progress has been reported.

Extracts – Al Jazeera| Telegraph