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Lanka imposes 10-day state of emergency over communal violence

3/6/2018

Colombo, Sri Lanka on Tuesday declared a nationwide state of emergency for 10 days in view of the spread of communal violence. Sri Lankan Government has imposed the state of emergency to "take stern action" against people instigating communal violence, a government spokesman said.The clashes had erupted between majority Buddhists and members of the minority Muslim community. Some Buddhist nationalists have also protested against the presence in Sri Lanka of Muslim Rohingya asylum-seekers from mostly Buddhist Myanmar, where Buddhist nationalism has also been on the rise. The measure comes after a local curfew was imposed on Monday in the central city Kandy, after days of unrest between religious communities with a Buddhist man killed and Muslim businesses set ablaze, the Al Jazeera News reported.Police said there had been riots and arson attacks since the weekend in Kandy district, while sources told Al Jazeera the violence was spreading throughout the South Asian island nation. In the past, religious and ethnic violence had turned deadly in Sri Lanka, where Muslims account for 10 percent of the 21 million population, and Buddhists Sinhalese make up nearly 75 percent. Another 13 percent of the population are Hindus. Some observers blame the nationalist Buddhist organisation Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) group for the ongoing violence. In February 2018, five people were wounded and several shops and a mosque were damaged during a clash between Buddhist and Muslim groups. In June 2014, an anti-Muslim campaign was launched following the deadly Aluthgama riots. Some hardline Buddhist groups have also accused Muslim groups of forcing people to convert to Islam and vandalising Buddhist archaeological sites.President Maithripala Siresena had vowed to investigate anti-Muslim crimes after assuming power in 2015, but no significant progress has been reported.

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