Colombo (Web Desk): Sri Lanka has imposed a nationwide state of emergency for the first time since the civil war era to quell anti-Muslim riots that have killed at least two people and damaged dozens of mosques and homes, a minister said.
“The cabinet of ministers decided on tough measures, including a 10-day nationwide state of emergency,” Minister of City Planning Rauff Hakeem said as police imposed a curfew in the riot-hit central district of Kandy.
The curfew was imposed on Tuesday, a day after Buddhists and Muslims clashed in the Indian Ocean island’s central district of Kandy.
Muslim-owned shops were set alight and the violence spiralled out of control after monks from hardline Buddhist groups travelled to the town to negotiate the release of the accused men.
When they failed to do so, more fires were lit, dozens of people were arrested and a curfew was imposed in two towns in the district.
On Tuesday morning the body of a 24-year-old man was pulled from one of the houses set on fire the previous day. His funeral was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
The Sri Lankan prime minister, Ranil Wickramsinghe, said the violence in the town “appeared to be systemic and organised” and promised the government would take stern action.