05/14/2019, 10.03
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Northern Sri Lanka, Muslim killed in sectarian violence: curfew extended

The victim was named Mohamed Ameer Mohamed Sally and owned a carpentry shop. Violence and aggression against mosques and Muslim businesses throughout the northwestern province. The police were ordered to "use maximum force to contain the violence".

Colombo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Sri Lankan authorities have imposed an all-out curfew in the northern province of the capital after yesterday's clashes that led to the death of a Muslim man.

Mohamed Ameer Mohamed Sally, the victim, was a 45-year-old resident of Puttalam district (northwestern province).

He died in the hospital after being stabbed by the crowd that attacked his woodworking shop. The Muslim is the first person killed in the sectarian violence which has exploded as retaliation for the massacres carried out at Easter in three churches and three hotels in Colombo, which killed 257 people.

This morning the curfew was suspended throughout the rest of the island. Ruwan Gunasekera, a police spokesman, said that in the "North-Western Province the curfew will remain until further notice". Then he added: "The security forces are assisting the police, who have been ordered to use maximum force to contain the violence".

The intervention of the special departments was necessary following the attacks carried out yesterday against dozens of businesses owned by Muslim faithful and several mosques. Witnesses report that in the Gampaha district the attackers devastated some restaurants and a textile factory. In the city of Kiniyama, the people shattered the stained glass windows of the mosque of Abrar, unhinged the doors and threw copies of the Koran to the ground.

Already last week in Sri Lanka there were episodes of violence against the Muslim community in Negombo. This time the dispute arose from a comment posted on Facebook, which read: “1 day u will cry") The author of the post, 38-year-old Abdul Hameed Mohamed Hasmar, was arrested.

Card. Malcom Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, has spoken out in defense of the local Muslim community, which represents 10% of the population on the island. In a meeting with the ambassadors of Islamic countries, having come to offer the condolences of the whole community, he strongly affirmed that "Muslims are in no way responsible" for the Easter massacres. "What happened - he added - is not something political or religious, but the result of the actions of some misguided people. Perhaps there are also other forces behind them, but they have no connection with Islam".

To avoid the dissemination of false news and further comments that stir the spirits and incite violent reaction, the director general of the Information Department Nalaka Kaluwewa has ordered the blocking of social media. All telephone companies have been instructed to suspend the functions of famous apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram and Viber.

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