Sri Lanka clashes kill one; nationwide curfew imposed after mosques attacked
Updated : May 14, 2019 09:49 AM IST
One person was killed in Sri Lanka on Monday as police fired tear gas at mobs attacking mosques and Muslim-owned shops and imposed a curfew after the worst outbreak of sectarian violence since the Easter bombings by Islamist militants. The April 21 attacks, claimed by Islamic State, targeted churches and hotels, mostly in Colombo, killing more than 250 people and fuelling fears of a backlash against the island nation's minority Muslims. Residents in Muslim parts of North Western Province said mobs had attacked mosques and damaged shops and businesses owned by Muslims for a second day. Police imposed a nationwide curfew until from 9 p.m. (1530 GMT) to 4 a.m., spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in a statement that acts of sabotage were hampering an investigation by security forces and warned that "if the racism rises up ... and peace is disturbed the country will be destabilised". Wickremesinghe said he had given powers to the security forces to take strong action against those disturbing the peace. Authorities also imposed a temporary ban on social media networks and messaging apps including WhatsApp after a clash in another part of the country was traced to a dispute on Facebook. Muslims make up nearly 10 percent of Sri Lanka's 22 million people who are predominantly Sinhalese Buddhists.