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Sri Lanka Gov't Declares Emergency After Anti-Muslim Riots

Sri Lanka Gov't Declares Emergency After Anti-Muslim Riots

More than two dozen arrests have been made so far, following the violence against the minority Muslim community in Kandy district which claimed two lives.

Hakeem said the riots were concentrated in Kandy - home to famous tea plantations and Buddhist relics - but the government wanted to send a strong message given outbreaks of communal violence elsewhere recently.

But violence took a new path this morning, according to eyewitnesses, after a Muslim youth Abdul Basith was killed by a mob attack on March 5, following which a police curfew was declared and all government schools were shut down.

Ganeshan said the state of Emergency would give Sirisena the power to deploy the armed forces across the country.

The police official said tight security remained in place across the Kandy district while schools and businesses also remained closed. "As a country that had suffered by acts of violence for almost three decades, we as a nation should desist from repetition of such", Director General of Government information, Sudarshana Gunawardhana said. The action could have been taken sooner to prevent clashes. In February, five people were injured and several shops and a mosque were damaged during clashes.

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Buddhists are accusing Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam while mobs set fire to Muslim-owned businesses and attacked a mosque in the eastern part of the country.

Five persons were arrested and police said investigations are on.

As per reports, an emergency was required after the religious and ethnic violence has increased in Sri Lanka.

Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, executive director of the Centre for Human Rights Sri Lanka, condemned the "unfathomable police inefficiency" that he said led to the violence. Another 13% of the population are Hindus.