Colombo: Sri Lanka on Tuesday partially lifted an overnight curfew imposed nationwide after an upsurge in anti-Muslim violence and warned that rioters will be dealt with maximum force — three weeks after the deadly Easter Sunday bombings.
The curfew will, however, remain until further notice in the North-Western Province where anti-Muslim violence broke out on Monday, the police said.
Twitter was temporarily blocked on Tuesday following a social media ban on Facebook, Whatsapp and Viber to prevent the circulation of fake news and incitement to violence, the Daily Mirror reported.
Mosques and Muslim-owned shops were vandalized or set on fire in violence and one Muslim man was slashed to death. In several places, the police fired in the air and used tear gas to disperse mobs.
In a televised address, Police chief Chandana Wickramaratne warned that officers would respond to rioters with “maximum force”.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe earlier appealed for calm, saying the current unrest was hampering the investigation into the Easter bombings.
Tensions have been high in Sri Lanka since Islamist militants attacked three churches, three luxury hotels, and two other locations on April 21, killing over 250 people. The riots were centered on three districts north of Colombo. In the north-western town of Kiniyama, windows and doors to a mosque were smashed.
The unrest was triggered on Sunday after a group of people stormed into Chilaw town following a Facebook post by a Muslim shopkeeper about “an attack plan”, the police said. Several people threw stones at mosques and attacked Muslim-owned shops in the town. (IANS)
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