One dead in Sri Lanka anti-Muslim riots following Easter terror attack

Sri Lanka Sri Lanka curfew Colombo attack Sri Lanka tensions Sri Lanka blasts world news Indian Express

Sri Lanka officials lifted the nationwide curfew imposed over religiously-fueled riots on Tuesday, but chose to reimpose it in the North-Western Province (NWP) where a Muslim man was killed overnight.

"The navigation of any unmanned aircraft or drone in or over the territory of Sri Lanka by any person other than a member of Triforces or police is prohibited until further notice", another Gazette notification said. Earlier in the week, mobs targeted mosques and businesses owned by Muslims.

"There are hundreds of rioters, police and the army are just watching".

The April 21 attacks, claimed by Islamic State, targeted churches and hotels, mostly in Colombo, killing more than 250 people and fuelling fears of a backlash against the island country's minority Muslims.

"There were no incidents of violence overnight and we are arresting groups of people responsible for taking part in mob attacks".

Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe urged the public not to believe rumours and warned that civil unrest will stretch the already thinly deployed security forces. "The recent violence in Sri Lanka has highlighted a growing influence of nationalist and extremist views of identity in the Asia region, putting religious minorities at risk", the United Nations said in a press release.

The curfew had been in place all day in North-Western Province (NWP), where police said a 45-year-old Muslim man was slaughtered in his carpentry shop late Monday by a crowd carrying swords.

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A Catholic priest had sent out a message to parishioners about possible attacks, prompting panic in some of the violence-prone areas, police said in a separate statement. "If we lose ourselves in violence, racism, thuggery and hatred we lose our country".

"The security forces have been given full powers to deal with those who violate the state of emergency and the islandwide curfew", he said.

Muslims make up almost 10% of Sri Lanka's 22 million people, who are predominantly Sinhalese Buddhists. All the windows and doors of the soft-pink building were smashed and copies of the Qur'an were thrown onto the floor.

The government also reimposed a ban on social media following the violent clashes.

Soldiers in armoured vehicles are patrolling the towns hit by sectarian violence, and a police spokesman said the situation had now been brought under control.

The unrest was triggered on Sunday after a group of people stormed into Chilaw town following the Facebook post by a Muslim shopkeeper about "an attack plan". "Social media blocked again as a temporary measure to maintain peace in the country", Nalaka Kaluwewa, the director general of the Department of Government Information said.

Sri Lankan Catholics pray during mass which resumed after the Easter Sunday attacks, at the "All Saints" Church in Colombo.

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