A Muslim man was killed and dozens of shops and mosques were destroyed in fresh communal violence in Sri Lanka in the worst unrest since Easter Sunday bombings which killed nearly 260 people. While the unrest was concentrated in three districts north of the capital, a night curfew was imposed across the country to prevent the spread of violence.
The man was hacked to death, confirmed Rauff Hakeem, a Cabinet minister and and leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress. “Mobs had attacked him with sharp weapons at his carpentry workshop,” a police official told AFP.
The Lankan government also reimposed a ban on social media after the clashes. Army chief Mahesh Senanayake said the troops have been instructed to deal very strictly with those who defy the curfew. The army will shoot on sight if anyone defies the order, he added.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in an address to the nation, said the military has been asked to quell the anti-Muslim riot and urged public cooperation to the security forces to bring the situation under control. “The security forces have been given full powers to deal with those who violate the state of emergency and the islandwide curfew,” he said. He also appealed for calm urged the public not to be swayed by false information.
The flare-up is the worst violence in the three weeks since Sri Lankan Islamist bombers blew themselves up in four hotels and three churches on Easter Sunday.