Sirisena to appoint committee to probe anti-Muslim riots

Timber depot burns in Sri Lanka

Muslims in Colombo protested peacefully against the recent communal violence in Kandy, and they were seen demonstrating their patriotism by kissing Sri Lanka's national flag and appealing for communal harmony.

The riots, which began on Monday after a man from the Sinhalese majority died from injuries sustained in an attack by Muslims a week earlier, have left almost 200 Muslim businesses and homes destroyed.

AN investigation into anti-Muslim riots that spread in central Sri Lanka, prompting the authorities to declare a nationwide state of emergency, was announced today by President Maithripala Sirisena.

A curfew in the district, which is 115km (72 miles) east of the capital Colombo, was lifted at dawn yesterday but army soldiers continued to patrol alongside police, officials said.

A 24-hour curfew was imposed on Wednesday afternoon after a hand grenade exploded in the hands of an attacker, killing him and wounding 11 others, officials said.

The government ordered the internet blackout after police discovered mobs of Sinhalese rioters were using social media to coordinate attacks on Muslim establishments.

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"Anamaduwe Muslim restaurant was attacked at 4 am (local time) this morning", the Colombo Telegraph reported.

The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) is dismayed that a concerted effort is being made by extremist elements from the Sinhala Buddhist community to spread falsehood and hatred, and to instigate destruction and violence against the Muslim community of Sri Lanka.

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

Former Sri Lankan cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara alluded to the island's history of ethnic violence in urging his countrymen "to say no to racism".

The government declared a state of emergency on Tuesday as the unrest escalated when a Muslim man was found dead in a fire-gutted building. Eleven mosques were attacked.

"Finally, the global community has to impress upon Sri Lanka in no uncertain terms that the country will never achieve its full potential without settling its ethnic and religious differences in a peaceful and just manner". Most are Buddhists. Muslims account for 10 per cent of the population.

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