Muslims Offer Prayers In Kandy Under Sri Lankan Army Protection

Delia Walker
March 12, 2018

So far, about 150 people, including key suspect Amith Weerasinghe from the hard-line Sinhala Buddhist group Mahasona Balakaya, have been arrested, the police said. The services were not restored till Saturday evening.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said Thursday night that the riots had been a huge blow to Sri Lanka's efforts to bolster tourism after ending a 37-year-old ethnic civil war.

Authorities have also blocked internet access across the district and disrupted Facebook and messaging platforms after police said they were used to instigate racial violence.

Police have already identified anti-Muslim messages being shared on social networks, including a video posted by a hardline Buddhist monk urging violence against Muslims.

About 3,000 police, 2,500 army personnel and 750 special task forces have been deployed in Kandy.

"The main junction is going up in flames".

The military maintained a heavy deployment in Kandy and schools remained shut, but authorities said they will reopen after the weekend.

Columbo: Security has been escalated with the fears of anti-Muslim violence near mosques in Sri Lanka, that has killed three people.

A senior police official said disciplinary action will be taken against officers in the Anamaduwa area for failing to prevent the restaurant attack.

Moderate Buddhist leaders have also denounced the riots concentrated in the central city of Kandy, 115 kilometres (72 miles) east of the capital Colombo.

"There were no incidents during the Friday prayers", a police official in Colombo said, adding that investigators had stepped up the search for those who took part in the violence.

"Finally, the worldwide community has to impress upon Sri Lanka in no uncertain terms that the country will never achieve its full potential without settling its ethnic and religious differences in a peaceful and just manner".

Violent attacks against Muslims swept the central district of Kandy over the last week.

Muslims make up 10 per cent of Sri Lankas total 21 million population.

"There is some fear among Muslims that they could be targeted ..."

As the army plans to undertake reconstruction of the destroyed Muslim-owned shops and business establishments, Lt. Gen. Senanayake said that a strategy to get all communities in the villages, especially the majority Sinhala, involved in the reconstruction will help heal wounds caused by the recent mayhem. Last November riots in the south of the island left one man dead and homes and vehicles damaged.

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