Sri Lanka declares state of emergency

Media reports stated Buddhist mobs ransacked and burned structures belonging to the minority Muslim communities in Kandy, a city in central Sri Lanka.

The Cabinet made a decision to declare the state of emergency to "prevent the spread of communal riots to other parts of the country", government spokesperson Dayasiri Jayasekara was quoted as saying. He said some people were instigating violence through Facebook and warned of tough action against them, according to Reuters.

The government has appealed to all parties and the general public to remain calm and act with responsibility, following a tense situation that took place in Digana today. The country was under a state of emergency for almost three decades when the government fought Tamil rebels in the civil war that ended in 2009.

Kandy is the latest region to be plagued by religious and ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, a nation of 21 million people. Local officials said more than two dozen suspects had been detained by police in connection with the spate of arson attacks, while senior officers also launched an investigation into the conduct of the police.


Amnesty International said it was important authorities took action to protect minorities from violence and hold those responsible to account."But a state of emergency must not become a pretext for further human rights abuses", said Amnesty's South Asia director Biraj Patnaik.

An emergency has been imposed for ten days after continuous violence between Buddhists and Muslims in Sri Lanka. Muslims are just 10 percent of its population.

"Two controversial Buddhist monks who have been at the center of similar anti-minority clashes before had been in the area on Sunday night", said Rishad Bathiudeen, Sri Lanka's minister of industry and commerce, who was in Kandy to survey the damage.


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