Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Sri Lanka Presidential Commission to probe anti-Muslim nationalist violence

The police had claimed that anti Muslim rioters were using social media to spread anti Muslim hatred. Reuters Image for Representation The police had claimed that anti Muslim rioters were using social media to spread anti Muslim hatred. Reuters Image for Representation
Olivia Ford | 12 March, 2018, 10:47

He had declared a nationwide state of emergency on Tuesday and deployed the police and military to prevent escalation of violence after clashes between majority Sinhala Buddhists and minority Muslims erupted in other areas of central Sri Lankas riot-hit Kandy district.

The commission made up of three retired judges, will inquire and assess the loss of lives, damage to property and also what laws were broken and any lapses by authorities, and who instigated the violence.

Kandy/Colombo: Sri Lankan police said they were investigating whether 10 suspected ringleaders of a wave of attacks on Muslims by Sinhalese Buddhists had outside funding or foreign help.

VANDALS attacked a Muslim-owned restaurant in Sri Lanka today in an alleged "hate crime", police said, as tensions remain high across the island following a week of violent riots.

Police have arrested the suspected instigators of the riots.

Police said almost 150 people were arrested over the violence, including the suspected leader, Amith Weerasinghe, a Sinhalese man known for anti-Muslim activism and outspoken social media posts.

The riots, which began on Monday after a man from the mainly Buddhist Sinhalese majority died from injuries sustained in an attack by Muslims last week, have destroyed more than 200 Muslim businesses, homes and vehicles.

A large number of Muslim-owned businesses in the island nation remained shut in protest against attacks by mainly Buddhist Sinhalese, but some shops in the Muslim neighbourhood opened on Friday.

Curfew in the district was lifted at dawn Saturday but army continued to patrol alongside police, officials said.

In 2014, violence directed against Muslim minority groups broke out in the southwestern town of Aluthgama, following a rally by hardline Buddhist nationalist monks, resulting in the death of at least three Muslims. India, already concerned about China's growing influence in Sri Lanka, will be anxious by any strife with ramifications for regional security.

Sinhalese and Muslim groups staged a demonstration outside the Colombo railway station on Thursday, demanding tougher action against the attackers.

A person familiar with the company's thinking regarding the Sri Lanka situation told CNBC the company believes that restricting access to the internet can deprive people of an important communication tool during a time of crisis and hopes that access will soon be restored soon in the country.

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