Sri Lanka blocks Facebook, WhatsApp after mosque attacked
Columbo: Sri Lanka blocked access to Facebook and WhatsApp on Monday after a posting sparked anti-Muslim riots across several towns in the latest fallout from the Easter Sunday suicide attacks.
The government’s Information Department said the measure was taken due to the false propaganda circulating on social media and unrest reported in several areas on Sunday.
Police imposed a curfew in the Chilaw, Kuliyapitiya, Bingiriya, and Dummalasuriya police divisions to control the situation. The curfew in Chilaw was lifted at 4 am on Monday, while it lasted until 6 am in the other three areas.
The curfew in Chilaw, a Christian-dominated town, was imposed after a mosque and a few shops owned by Muslims were attacked by a mob, according to Reuters. Several people had thrown stones at mosques and Muslim-owned stores, while a man was reportedly beaten after a dispute that started on Facebook.
The flare-up is the worst violence in the three weeks since Sri Lankan Islamist bombers blew themselves up in four hotels and three churches, killing more than 250 people.
Since then, Muslim groups say they have received dozens of complaints about people being harassed. Other communities say they fear the government, which failed to act on successive warnings about looming Islamist attacks, has not caught all potential militants.