Sri Lankan President Sirisena to appoint panel to probe anti-Muslim riots

10 March 2018, 05:11 PM
Sri Lankan President Sirisena to appoint panel to probe anti-Muslim riots
Sri Lankan President Sirisena to appoint panel to probe anti-Muslim riots

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Saturday appointed a commission to probe the communal clashes in the violence-hit Kandy district that prompted him to impose a nationwide state of emergency, according to a media report.

Anti-Muslim riots, since Monday, have left two persons dead and damaged several homes, businesses and mosques in the Kandy district.

The violence erupted after the death of a man from the mainly Buddhist Sinhalese majority last week. To rein in communal violence, a state of emergency has been imposed by President Maithripala Sirisena’s government.

A three-member committee comprising of retired judges will probe whether any violation of law and order is among the reasons for the clashes, evaluate the damages to lives and properties, probe whether there was any conspiratorial hand behind the incidents, Colombo Page reported.

The committee will also recommend steps that need to be taken to prevent such incidents in the future, and look into the conduct of relevant authorities in controlling the situation and their accountability, the report said, adding that the retired judges will be named later.

A curfew in the district was lifted at dawn on Saturday but the decision to re-impose the curfew in the Kandy administrative district would be taken after reviewing the security situation in the affected areas, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera was quoted as saying by Daily Mirror reported.

A total of 146 suspects were arrested in Kandy -- 135 over violence and 11 for violating the curfew since March 4, the report said.

“The suspects are being interrogated and action will be taken against them under the regulations of the state of emergency,” Gunasekera was quoted as saying by the report.

Tensions between Muslim groups and the majority Sinhalese Buddhist community in the country have escalated since the end of the civil war in May 2009.

In 2014, violence directed against Muslim minority groups broke out in the southwestern town of Aluthgama, following a rally by hardline Buddhist nationalist monks, resulting in the death of at least three Muslims.

First Published: Saturday, March 10, 2018 05:05 PM
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