A Muslim man was slashed to death in Sri Lanka on Monday, police said. The police have imposed a nationwide curfew to contain a violent new backlash against Easter suicide bombings. “The 45-year-old man died shortly after admission to a hospital in Puttalam district during anti-Muslim rioting which began Sunday in the area,” news agency AFP reported. Homes and mosques were also vandalised by large groups of people armed with sticks and blunt weapons, police said.
“Mobs had attacked him with sharp weapons at his carpentry workshop,” the official said. “This is the first death from the riots.” His death was reported after authorities ordered the entire country placed under a night curfew and police were ordered to use maximum force to deal with troublemakers.
On Monday, Sri Lanka blocked some social media platforms after violence was reported in parts of country on Monday. The development comes a day after the police imposed curfew in the country's western coastal town of Chilaw. The town saw clashes after a mosque and few shops owned by Muslims were attacked by a mob, authorities said. The curfew was imposed till 6 am Monday as a precaution, the police said. However, it is still not clear if the curfew has been lifted or not. Additional troops have been deployed in the city to bring the situation under control, they said.
The latest rioting came three weeks after a string of suicide bomb attacks against three Christian churches and three luxury hotels, leaving 258 people dead and nearly 500 wounded. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, but the government has blamed local Islamist extremist group, the National Thawheed Jama'ath (NTJ), for the bombings.
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 Christian brothers and sisters not to hurt even a single Muslim person because they are our brothers, because they are part of our religious culture," said Ranjith.