Curfew imposed in Sri Lanka hill capital after Sinhala - Muslim clashes flare

Troops and elite police have been sent to central Kandy district and imposed a curfew there on Monday to prevent clashes between majority Sinhalese Buddhists and minority Muslims after a mob set fire to a Muslim-owned shop. REUTERS  Dinuka Liyanawatte

Curfew imposed in Sri Lanka hill capital after Sinhala - Muslim clashes flare

Earlier, Sri Lankan police extended a curfew in parts of Kandy, home to famous tea plantations and Buddhist relics, after rioters disobeyed an overnight curfew and went on a rampage.

However, police said they arrested some of the suspects and took a three-wheeler into custody.

After his death, officials and Kandy residents said, extremist Buddhist monks who have incited communal violence in the past descended on the area, apparently to pay their condolences. "Now, the Police and Army personnel had been deployed to respective areas to beef up security", he was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror.

Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, executive director of the Centre for Human Rights Sri Lanka, condemned the "unfathomable police inefficiency" that he said led to the violence. "The destruction of Muslim properties started taking place from around 1pm", Tennakoon told Al Jazeera.

The Indian cricket team is in the island country and is slated to play the tri-series opener against Sri Lanka later on Tuesday.

The violence in the Digana and Teldeniya areas of Kandy occurred after a Sinhalese man died, allegedly after a road-rage incident led to an altercation between the deceased and a group of Muslim men. As per reports, an emergency was required after the religious and ethnic violence has increased in Sri Lanka.

"The violent BBS mobs manipulated the situation to fuel attacks against Muslims in an unprecedented way and started attacking people".

The curfew in the district was extended after the body of a Muslim man was pulled from the ashes of a burnt building, threatening to further raise communal tensions that have flared up across Sri Lanka in recent weeks. An anti-Muslim campaign was launched following the deadly Aluthgama riots in June 2014.

Religious violence is not new to the island.

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