Sri Lanka to declare Emergency after communal clashes

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Government appeals to all parties and general public to remain calm

Sri Lanka declared a country-wide state of emergency on Tuesday to suppress communal violence between Muslims and ethnic Sinhalese.

Hakeem said the riots were concentrated in Kandy - home to famous tea plantations and Buddhist relics - but the government wanted to send a strong message given outbreaks of communal violence elsewhere recently.

Sri Lankan Police on Tuesday re-imposed a curfew in parts of Kandy after violent mobs took to the streets on Monday burning houses and businesses in the latest spate of racial violence to hit the island country.

Last week, at least 5 people were wounded and several shops and a mosque damaged when groups clashed in Ampara.

The government called on the local population "to act with responsibility and remain calm".

In response, the government instituted a curfew in the district and deployed hundreds of heavily-armed police to stop the rioting.

Sri Lanka as a whole has always been divided between the majority Sinhalese, who are overwhelmingly Buddhist, and minority Tamils who are Hindu, Muslim and Christian. The website further added that the gazette signed by President Maithripala Sirisena declaring a State of Emergency will be issued today, the Minister added. Buddhists make up about 70 percent and ethnic Tamils, most of whom are Hindus, about 13 percent. Mobs set fire to Muslim-owned businesses and attacked a mosque, and violence was reportedly spreading throughout the country, according to Al Jazeera. Tension in Sri Lanka has been growing between the two communities for the past year, amidst accusations of forced conversions to Islam and vandalism of archaeological Buddhist sites.

The government dismissed the allegation as baseless and ordered the arrest of those fomenting unrest in the area.

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