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Anti-Muslim riots flare anew in Sri Lanka

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A day after the Lankan government imposed emergency in Kandy in the wake of violence between Buddhists and Muslims, police clashed with local rioters in the curfew-bound area on Tuesday night, reported Wio News (India).

Reports said at least 3 policemen were injured in the clashes in overnight clashes. Schools in Kandy remained shut today as police continued to patrol the area.

Foreign governments including Britain & US issued travel warning for their citizens against visiting the riot-hit area.

Reports said over 150 shops and houses were set ablaze in rioting since Sunday.

Meanwhile, the UN has announced it will send its political chief Jeffrey Feltman to the riot-hit region.

Feltman, who is the UN under-secretary-general for political affairs, will hold talks with the Sri Lankan government and is expected to visit Kandy.

Tensions between hardline Buddhist groups and Muslims in the area was building for over a year after the Buddhists accused the Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam and vandalising Buddhist archaeological sites.

The unrest in Kandy began on Sunday after the funeral of a truck driver from the majority Sinhalese Buddhist community who died days after he was involved in an altercation with four Muslims, the government said.

Just after the funeral, Sinhalese mob attacked Muslim shops. Police said later that body of a Muslim youth was found in a burnt-out house on Tuesday leading to renewed tensions.


Residents say anti-Muslim rioting has flared anew in central Sri Lanka despite a state of emergency, with Buddhist mobs burning mosques and Muslim-owned shops in at least two towns, reported ABC News (US).

The police ordered a curfew across much of the region Wednesday for a third day, trying to calm the situation.

An area resident who requested anonymity, fearing reprisal attacks, said two mosques and some Muslim-owned shops were attacked Wednesday in two towns in the central hills. The extent of the damage could not be verified.

Anti-Muslim riots began Monday after a Buddhist Sinhalese man died after reportedly being attacked by a group of Muslim youths.

Sri Lanka has long been divided between the majority Sinhalese, who are overwhelmingly Buddhist, and minority Tamils who are Hindu, Muslim and Christian.


An internet company official says the government has ordered popular social media networks blocked across a swathe of central Sri Lanka in an attempt to stop the spread of religious violence, reported Fox News (US).

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity under company policy, said the networks, including Facebook, Instagram, Viber and WhatsApp, were blocked in the central hills, scene of the violence. Outside of that region, though, many people were also unable to access the social media sites.

The government order came as anti-Muslim rioting flared anew, with Buddhist mobs attacking mosques and Muslim-owned shops in at least two towns.

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Reporter: Denes Osvalt
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