Nearly 50 people were arrested overnight in Sri Lanka over deadly riots between the majority Sinhala Buddhists and the minority Muslims in a popular tourist region that has killed at least four persons. “We have arrested 49 of them and are looking to make more arrests”, Police spokesman and Superintendent, Ajith Rohana said.
At least 30 of them have been remanded to police custody. On Sunday night, communal clashes broke out between the nationalist BBS or the Forces of Buddhist Power and the minority Muslims, who constitute about 10 per cent of Sri Lanka’s 20 million population, during a rally.
BBS over the last two years have been running a counter campaign against what they have termed an extremist campaign by the Muslim community. They accuse minorities of enjoying undue political and economic influence. At least 4 Muslims were killed in the clashes since
Sunday in the south western coastal areas of Aluthgama, Beruwala and Dharga Town.
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Meanwhile, a curfew imposed in the Beruwala and Aluthgama areas on Sunday following violence, was lifted from 8 am on Wednesday. Police said the curfew would be re-imposed, if required. “These incidents were very unfortunate. Everyone must realize that the country has faced international action so this is not the time to give room for such action”, military spokesman, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya said.
The UN Human Rights Council’s international investigation on Sri Lanka’s alleged human rights accountability is to commence soon. The action sanctioned by the UN rights body’s three successive resolutions since 2012. Sri Lanka’s lack of action to control inter-religious
tensions was highlighted by the UN rights chief Navy Pillay during her visit to the island last year.
Stepping up the international pressure, the European Union today urged the Sri Lankan government to uphold the rule of law. “We condemn the outbreak of violence which resulted in the loss of lives and extensive damage to property”, a EU statement said.