Security up in Sri Lanka after communal clashes

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka's Special Task Force and Police officers stand guard near a burnt house after a clash between two communities in Digana, central district of Kandy. Sri Lanka has declared a nationwide state of emergency for 10 days to stop the spread of communal violence after clashes erupted between majority Buddhists and members of the minority Muslim community. Reuters

Security was heightened throughout Sri Lanka on Friday to maintain law and order after deadly communal clashes erupted in the central Kandy region earlier this week, killing three and injuring several others.

Police Spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera told Xinhua news agency that tight security remained in place for the fifth consecutive day in Kandy and security would remain across the district for the coming few days.

Gunasekera said additional security had also been deployed outside mosques and temples throughout the island on Friday in order to avoid further clashes elsewhere in the island.

He added that although the curfew was lifted in Kandy on Friday morning, it may be reimposed.

"This will just be as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order. However things are returning to normal and there have been no major incidents reported in the past 48 hours," he said.

So far, at least 110 people have been arrested after communal clashes broke out in Kandy on Sunday evening, damaging several shops, businesses, homes, temples and mosques.

Police said the main suspect was arrested on Thursday morning along with nine others.

Police conducted search operations in several areas in Kandy on Thursday night and said it had recovered more than 20 petrol bombs.

President Maithripala Sirisena declared a state of Emergency on Tuesday, the first since the country ended a 30 year civil war in May 2009.

In a nation-wide address, he appealed for calm and peace and warned of "stern action" against anyone spreading violence and rumors with the intention of provoking communal violence.

The latest clashes were triggered on Sunday evening after a 41-year-old man succumbed to his injuries after being attacked by a group of people on February 22. (IANS)