Muslim-owned restaurant attacked in Sri Lanka
Colombo: Fresh violence erupted in Sri Lanka on sunday when a Muslim-owned restaurant was attacked in an alleged hate crime in a northern city, even as riot-hit Kandy district remained peaceful after a spate of communal clashes that have left three people dead.
The restaurant located in Puttalam district's Anamaduwa city, 130 kilometres from Colombo, was targeted early morning even as police are keeping a tight vigil following eruption of communal clashes on Monday.
"Anamaduwe Muslim restaurant was attacked at 4 am (local time) this morning," the Colombo Telegraph reported.
Tensions remain high across Sri Lanka after the violence broke out following the death of a man from the mainly Buddhist Sinhalese majority last week, resulting in the death of three persons and damage to several homes, businesses and mosques in the scenic Kandy district. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said the damage to property in Kandy will have a telling effect on the country's economy.
"We experienced a bad drought which has set the growth in agriculture back. This cost of violence will add to the losses, he said.
"I have asked the law enforcement to take swift action to bring the law breakers to book," Wickremesinghe said.
The Muslim minority was dissatisfied with the government's lack of prompt action to tackle the violent mobs.
They claimed that the arrests came late while some sections of the security forces had turned a blind eye to escalating violence against them.
Sirisena appointed a three-member commission yesterday to probe the communal clashes in central district of Kandy.
He had declared a nationwide state of emergency on Tuesday and deployed the police and military to prevent escalation of violence after clashes between majority Sinhala Buddhists and minority Muslims erupted in other areas of central Sri Lanka's riot-hit Kandy district.
Muslims make up 10 per cent of Sri Lanka's total 21 million population. Sinhalese are a largely Buddhist ethnic group.
Meanwhile, police said today that there were no incidents of violence from Kandy for the last two days but the troops will be on guard for tackling of any security breach.
"There were no incident both yesterday and today. So there is no need for a curfew," police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera told reporters.
He said over 230 people had been arrested 169 of them from Kandy and 61 of them from other areas. With the arrests of 10 main suspects who had incited racial violence, the situation in Kandy has come under control. Kandy's central province Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake said today that all government schools which were closed on March 7 due to the unrest will reopen on Monday. The announcement came after police spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekara said yesterday that curfew will not be imposed in Kandy as situation has been peaceful.