New Delhi: Sri Lanka widened the countrywide curfew, on Monday, after successive days of mob attacks on mosques and Muslim-owned shops in three districts in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday bombings. Authorities have also blocked several social-media platforms to stop people inciting violence.
At least one person was killed in the attacks.
Security has been tightened in the nation of around 22 million as the fear of violent reprisals have gripped the minority Muslims after Islamist bombers blew themselves up in four hotels and three churches, killing around 300 people.
The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka and residents said several mosques and Muslim homes were damaged in an attack overnight in the western district of Kurunegala while mobs threw stones and torched motorcycles and cars owned by Muslims.
According to military spokesman Sumith Atapattu, police arrested a group of men for the attacks but people in the mostly Buddhist district then demanded their release.
He said, “To control the situation, a police curfew was imposed during the night.”
A mosque official said the attacks were triggered when several people, including some Buddhist monks, demanded a search of the main building after soldiers had inspected a 105-acre (43-hectare) pond nearby and when the Muslims tried to prevent the attack, police told them to go inside.
Sri Lanka’s leading mobile phone operator, Dialog Axiata Plc, has also been directed to block other social media platforms such as Viber, IMO, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube until further notice.