Communal clashes rock SL town, curfew imposed

Updated: May 13, 2019, 13:21 IST | Agencies

Additional troops deployed in Chilaw to bring the situation under control

Communal clashes rock SL town, curfew imposed
Sri Lankan Catholic devotees pray during the first mass held at the St. Theresa's church three weeks after the deadly Easter bombings, in Colombo on Sunday. Pic/AFP

Colombo: Sri Lankan police on Sunday imposed curfew with immediate effect in the country's western coastal town of Chilaw after a mosque and few shops owned by Muslims were attacked by a mob, authorities said.

The curfew has been imposed till 6 am Monday as a precaution, the police said. Additional troops have been deployed in the city to bring the situation under control, they said.

Tension was brewing since Saturday between the Catholics and Muslims in the Christian dominated town. This is a fallout from the Easter Sunday attacks in which over 250 people were killed.

Nine suicide bombers carried out a series of blasts that killed 258 people on the Easter Sunday. Some inflammatory exchanges happened between the two communities in the town since Saturday, the residents said.

A Catholic woman claimed that she was threatened inside a Muslim-owned shop. The churches this morning resumed their normal Sunday services since the attack. Early this month, several people were injured in clashes between Muslims and Christians in Negombo, a majority Christian town where St. Sebastian's Church was targeted during the Easter attacks.

After clashes in Negombo, Cardinal Ranjith appealed to Christians and other communities to show restraint. "I appeal to all Catholic and Christians not to hurt even a single Muslim person because they are our brothers, because they are part of our religious culture," said Ranjith. "Therefore please try to create a better spirit of understanding and good relations between all the communities of Sri Lanka."

Muslim cleric held for inciting extremism
A 47-year old Muslim cleric wanted by the Sri Lankan security forces for using social media platform to air extremist views has been arrested, the Daily Mirror reportedsaid. The cleric, whose identity has not been disclosed, was wanted for releasing videos in a manner that harms reconciliation in the country and has been remanded till May 14. The suspect, a resident of Vavuniya, was arrested on Saturday at the Bandaranaike International Airport on his arrival from Mecca after performing Hajj. The suspect had been organising pilgrimage tours to Mecca.

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