Sri Lanka vows ‘maximum force’ against anti-Muslim rioters

Soldier stand guard in street follwoing
curfew was re-imposed Tuesday when anti-Muslim mobs attacked mosques and Muslim-owned businesses. Photo courtesy of Anandolu

COLOMBO, May 15 (NNN-XINHUA) – Over 60 people have been arrested over the violent clashes which erupted in Sri Lanka on Monday, the Police said in a statement Tuesday.

Police Spokesperson SP Ruwan Gunasekara said that several people were being questioned and 33 out of those arrested had been further remanded.

Gunasekara said that a curfew would be re-imposed for the second consecutive night across the island which would begin from 9 p.m. local time Tuesday to 4 a.m. Wednesday. This was done to prevent further clashes.

A curfew in the Gampaha District, in the outskirts of the capital which was severely affected by the violent clashes on Monday was re-imposed from 7 p.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Police said a curfew which had been in place across the north western province on Tuesday had been lifted at 4 p.m. Tuesday for two hours. Police said the curfew was re-imposed again from 6 p.m. and would be lifted at 6 a.m. Wednesday.

The North Western province was also severely affected by the violent clashes.

Security remained heightened across the island since Monday as several Muslim mosques, houses and businesses were burnt and damaged by angry mobs.

The clashes killed one person.

Fears of ethnic violence have been growing in Sri Lanka following the terror attacks on April 21, which killed over 250 people and injured 500 others.

A local radical group, named the National Thawheed Jammath, has been blamed for the attacks.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, in a special statement released Monday evening, urged people to remain calm and adhere to the laws.

He said security forces had been entrusted with maintaining law and order and he requested the public to abide by their instructions to ensure peace is maintained.

Wickremesinghe on Tuesday morning visited Kuliyapitiya in the Kurunegala District which was one of the towns affected by the violence, to meet with the affected people and discuss measures to ensure their security