Mob kills one in SL as communal riots spread despite nationwide curfew
Colombo: Mobs slashed to death a Sri Lankan Muslim man despite a nationwide curfew imposed Monday night after anti-Muslim riots spread to three districts north of the capital in a violent backlash against Easter suicide bombings. An indefinite curfew has been imposed for maintenance of law and order situation of the country.
The 45-year-old man died shortly after admission to a hospital in Puttalam district during the rioting which began Sunday in the area, a police official told AFP.
“Mobs had attacked him with sharp weapons at his carpentry workshop,” the official said. “This is the first death from the riots.”
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the curfew was declared to prevent unidentified groups destabilising the country by orchestrating communal violence.
“At several places in the North-Western Province these groups created trouble, damaged property,” Wickremesinghe said in a televised address to the nation.
“Police and security forces have contained the situation, but these (unidentified) groups are still trying to create trouble.”
Wickremesinghe said the unrest would hinder investigations into the April 21 attacks that targeted three Christian churches and three luxury hotels, killing 258 people and wounding nearly 500.
The attacks have come during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.
The curfew has been extended to cover the entire country of 21 million people.
Police said there were sporadic incidents of mobs throwing stones and torching shops, motorcycles and cars owned by Muslims. In the town of Hettipola, at least three shops were torched. In the town of Minuwangoda, just north of Colombo, a Muslim-owned hotel and a mosque were attacked by stone-hurling mobs armed with sticks.
Previously, the Sri Lankan authorities had put a ban on Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media platforms.
Wickremesinghe has urged the denizens to remain calm and not panic and be swayed by false information.