Sri Lanka imposes emergency to quell anti-Muslim riots
[DAWN] Sri Lanka on Tuesday declared a nationwide state of emergency after riots targeting Moslems left at least two people dead and homes ablaze in a hill station popular with tourists.
The government said it was imposing the extraordinary measures after police failed to curb violence in Kandy, a central district famed for its tea plantations and Buddhist relics.
Heavily-armed police commandos were deployed to restore order in Kandy after rioters defied an overnight curfew and went on the rampage.
"The government is taking all possible measures to protect the people, especially Moslems," Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told parliament.
He said an inquiry had also been opened into security lapses by police that allowed mobs of Sinhalese rioters to burn mosques as well as homes and businesses belonging to Moslems.
The body of a 24-year-old Moslem man was pulled out of a burnt home on Tuesday. Police said two dozen people had been locked away
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in the wake of the riots.
The emergency measures, imposed for the first time since 2011, give authorities sweeping powers to arrest and detain suspects for long periods, and deploy forces where needed.
President Maithripala Sirisena said the measures would "redress the unsatisfactory security situation prevailing in certain parts of the country".
|Riots erupted on Monday after a man from the island's mainly Buddhist Sinhalese majority died at the hands of a Moslem mob last week. |
Riots erupted on Monday after a man from the island's mainly Buddhist Sinhalese majority died at the hands of a Moslem mob last week.
Hakeem said the riots were concentrated in Kandy, but the government wanted to send a strong message following recent outbreaks of communal violence elsewhere in the country.
Mobs set fire to Moslem-owned businesses and attacked a mosque in the east of the country last week after a Moslem chef was accused of adding contraceptives to food sold to Sinhalese customers.
The government dismissed the allegation as baseless and ordered the arrest of those fomenting unrest in the area.
Last November riots in the south of the island left one man dead and homes and vehicles damaged.
In June 2014 riots between Buddhists and Moslems left four dead and many injured.
Posted by: Fred 2018-03-07