Normalcy returns to Kandy, army calls for 'rebuilding' minds

Mar 12, 2018, 06:00
Normalcy returns to Kandy, army calls for 'rebuilding' minds

Sri Lanka is still rife with tensions amid the aftermath of its 26-year civil war between government forces and Tamil separatists, and as CNN reported, persecution of the country's Muslim minority is feared to be growing.

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.

A Sri Lankan policeman looking at the charred remains of a building and motorcycles set ablaze during anti-Muslim riots in Kandy last week.

Police said the main instigator of the riots was arrested on Thursday along with 145 others.

On Saturday, President Maithripala Sirisena announced a three-member panel will be appointed to investigate and lifted the curfew.

The restaurant in Anamaduwa - 130km north of the capital Colombo - was targeted despite police being on high alert after a spate of anti-Muslim attacks.

Police officials said that tight security would remain in place throughout the district to ensure that there was no relapse into violence amid concerns among Muslims about possibility of attacks during Friday prayers. "So there is no need for a curfew", police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera told reporters. Sinhalese Buddhists make up 75% of the country's 21 million people, and 10% are Muslims.

Meanwhile, Kandy's central province Chief Minister SarathEkanayake said today that all government schools which were closed on March 7 due to the unrest will reopen tomorrow.

The claims are supported by a recent report on Sri Lanka from nonprofit Freedom House, which found "hate speech against minorities continues to foment on various social media platforms, particularly Facebook". Per Al Jazeera, Sinhalese nationalist groups have developed large social media followings and sometimes use them to spread unverified or poorly sourced rumours scapegoating Muslims.

"The state security was important than anything else and we are glad the situation is now returning to normal", Jayasekara was quoted as saying by the Colombo Gazette.

A group of radical Buddhists monks are facing prosecution for their alleged role in anti-Muslim violence in 2014 that left four people dead.

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