Sri Lanka blocks social media services after violence over Facebook post

Sri Lanka blocks social media services after violence over Facebook post

Sri Lanka has imposed a nationwide overnight curfew after the worst outbreak of communal violence since the deadly Easter bombings.

An islandwide curfew was imposed in Sri Lanka on Monday following violent anti-Muslim clashes which erupted in the northwestern province and the Gampaha district, in the outskirts of capital Colombo. His shop was smashed and people vandalised a nearby mosque prompting security forces to fire in the air to disperse the crowd, but the violence spread.

The lone fatality was a man killed while trying to protect his home from attack. "Security forces are working tirelessly to apprehend terrorists and ensure the security of the country, but each time there is civil unrest, we increase their burden and hamper ongoing investigations", he said.

A pasta factory owned by a Muslim businessman was destroyed after unidentified attackers threw burning tyres into the facility, reducing it to ashes.

It said that no injuries had been reported and that police had fired in the air in the Hettipola area. On Sunday night, stones had been pelted at the mosques in Kiniyagama, Bingiriya causing damage to their windows.

"Several shops have been attacked", a senior police officer told AFP.

Worshippers were searched before being allowed into churches that were guarded by armed police and troops.

A Catholic woman claimed that she was threatened inside a Muslim-owned shop.

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Accordingly, police curfew was imposed from 9.00 p.m. yesterday to 4.00 a.m. today countrywide and till 6.00 a.m.in the Gampaha police division.

"Security forces are assisting police who have been ordered to use maximum force to contain the violence", police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said. "There can be no room for terrorism in this country - not for the terrorism that bombs churches, and not for the terrorism that attacks mosques", he said in a statement.

Aadhil, who describes himself on his LinkedIn profile as a senior engineer/programmer/web designer with a masters degree in computer science and a bachelors in political science from United Kingdom universities, could not be reached for comment.

The Indian investigators said they had been monitoring Aadhil since 2016 and named him in two chargesheets filed in Indian courts against suspected Islamic State operatives as being one of their contacts.

Muslims make up almost 10% of Sri Lanka's 22 million people, who are predominantly Sinhalese Buddhists.

Social media services were first banned immediately after the bombing on April 21st and was lifted after 10 days.

"An inability or unwillingness to prevent the spread of violence must also be followed by the resignation of those responsible or steps taken to remove such officials as provided by the law".

Sri Lankan cricket legend Kumar Sangakkara was among those to call for calm, earlier tweeting: "STOP".

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