Sri Lanka PM calls for calm as anti-Muslim violence soars

May 14, 2019, 1:42 AM EDT
(Source: Boaz Guttman/flickr)
(Source: Boaz Guttman/flickr)

Fierce sectarian violence killed one person in Sri Lanka on Monday as rioters vandalized and ransacked mosques and Muslim-owned shops, three weeks after the deadly Easter Sunday bombings that left more than 250 people dead.

Reports of clashes between the security forces and the rioters emerged from several towns, writes the BBC. Police used tear gas and fired in the air to disperse angry mob of young Sinhalese men brandishing sticks and rods in the town of Madulla in North Western Province.

A nationwide curfew, imposed overnight, was partially lifted on Tuesday with Police Chief Chandana Wickramaratne warning that rioters would be dealt with “maximum force.”

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe appealed to his countrymen to stay calm, adding that the acts of sabotage are a ploy to derail the investigation into last month’s bombings, notes Reuters. Social media sites and messaging services have been temporarily blocked in certain parts of the country to curb the spread of rumors and misinformation.