Sri Lanka Declares State of Emergency After Mob Attacks Against Minority Muslims

Sri Lanka has declared a state of emergency following mob attacks against minority Muslims by some members of the Sinhalese community in the Kandy region. This is the first time a nationwide state of emergency has been imposed since the civil war era.

The New York Times reports:

The unrest in the district of Kandy began on Sunday, as angry mobs made up of the majority Sinhalese ethnic group attacked dozens of Muslim businesses and houses, and at least one mosque. At least one person was killed. Hundreds of security personnel, including special forces, were deployed to Kandy on Monday and a curfew was declared there.

Officials feared that the killing — of a man in his 20s, whose body was found in a burned house — could provoke violent reactions across the country.

The violence appears to have erupted when a group of Muslim men in Digana town were accused of killing a Sinhalese man. Full details here.

“The government has decided to declare a state of emergency for a 10-day period starting at midnight to maintain law and order” after the violence in the Digana area of Kandy, S.B. Dissanayake, a cabinet minister, said on Tuesday.

“There are doubts being expressed about whether the police acted swiftly enough to curb the violence,” he said. “So a decision was made to declare a state of emergency at the cabinet today.”