Sri Lanka grapples with mob violence against Muslims following Easter attacks

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Sri Lanka’s authorities imposed a nationwide curfew Monday and quickly blocked social media following a flare-up of communal violence in obvious response to final month’s Easter assaults that killed greater than 250 folks, officers mentioned.

Performing police chief C.D. Wickramaratne mentioned the violence began with a number of outlets being stoned within the North Western city of Kuliyapitiya on Sunday. It was quickly introduced beneath management, however on Monday mobs carried out violence on a much bigger scale, he mentioned.

WATCH: Why did Sri Lankan officers ignore warning indicators within the terror assaults?

“This small group should cease the damaging recreation they play in opposition to the lives and property of harmless folks,” Wickramaratne mentioned in a televised assertion. “We gained’t enable the nation being led to anarchy by those that impose their energy on unarmed, harmless civilians.”

He warned that these arrested for breaching the regulation might be sentenced to as much as 10 years in jail.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe mentioned in a speech to the nation that safety forces had introduced the violence beneath management however the authorities determined to impose the curfew to cease the violence from spreading to different elements of the nation.

READ MORE: Social media bans, fines and penalties — how international locations try to fight hate after tragedy

Police mentioned the curfew can be enforced till additional discover within the nation’s North Western area, and till Tuesday morning in the remainder of the nation.

Tensions have been operating excessive within the Buddhist-majority Indian Ocean island nation because the assaults by seven suicide bombers who struck two Catholic and one Protestant church and three luxurious resorts. The Islamic State group claimed duty for the assaults, carried out by an area radicalized Muslim group.

Muslims have been subjected to hate feedback because the Easter Sunday bombings.

The federal government imposed the social media ban after an change of accusations between two folks on Fb led to a mob to assault a Muslim-owned store Sunday within the Catholic-majority city of Chilaw, mentioned Nalaka Kaluwewa, the chief of the Info Division.

READ MORE: Catholic Church in Sri Lanka holds first common Sunday Mass since Easter bombings

Kaluwewa mentioned the federal government took the step “to forestall misinformation from being circulated and in addition to forestall spreading of data that will hurt communal concord.”

Earlier blocks on social media and messaging apps imposed following the April 21 suicide assaults on church buildings and resorts have been lifted after a number of days.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara mentioned police have arrested a 38-year-old Muslim businessman, Abdul Hameed Mohamed Hasmar, for allegedly writing the Fb feedback that sparked the violence.

Native media reported that residents within the space angered by the feedback stoned Hasmar’s store.

The federal government has intensified safety throughout the nation, with police and troops deployed to guard faculties, church buildings and key authorities workplaces.

On Sunday, the Catholic Church held the primary common Sunday Mass because the assaults amid tight safety. Sunday companies had been canceled the 2 earlier weekends for worry of extra assaults, leaving the devoted to listen to Mass through reside TV transmission from the residence of Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo.

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Related Pres author Krishan Francis contributed to this report.

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