Sri Lanka imposes state of emergency amid violence


The Sri Lankan government has declared a nationwide state of emergency Tuesday after the recent anti-Muslim riots threw the South Asian island nation into chaos almost seven years after the last such riots took place in the country.

The Government also convened a special meeting over the communal violence involving the Muslims and the Sinhalese, who are mostly Buddhists, Efe news reported.

Sri Lanka imposed a curfew Monday in a central hill station town popular with tourists after days of communal unrest that saw a man killed and Muslim businesses set alight. Moreover, there had been riots and arson attacks since the weekend in Kandy district.

In February 2018, five people were wounded and business premises and a mosque were damaged in the Eastern District of Ampara, a multi-ethnic area. "I urge residents to remain calm and act with reason", Rajapaksa tweeted.

In the past, religious and ethnic violence had turned deadly in Sri Lanka, where Muslims account for 10% of the 21 million population, and Buddhists Sinhalese make up almost 75%.

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The outbreak followed the death of a Sinhalese man believed to have been killed by a group of Muslims, following growing tensions between the groups across the previous year.

Amnesty has also called on the Sri Lankan authorities to take action against those responsible for attacks on the country's Muslim minority.

Ganeshan said the state of Emergency would give Sirisena the power to deploy the armed forces across the country. The police official said 24 people had been arrested over the killing so far. Another 13% of the population are Hindus.

In the past, religious and ethnic violence had turned deadly in Sri Lanka.

In June 2014 riots between Buddhists and Muslims left four dead and many injured.