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State of Emergency Imposed In Sri Lanka Over Communal Clashes

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| March 6 , 2018 , 17:54 IST

Sri Lanka's government has imposed a nation-wide state of emergency on Tuesday following violent clashes and has vowed to "take stern action" against people instigating communal violence.

The measure comes after a local curfew was imposed on Monday in the central city Kandy, after days of unrest between religious communities with a Buddhist man killed and Muslim businesses set ablaze.

Some Buddhist nationalist reportedly have also protested against the presence of Muslim Rohingya asylum-seekers in Sri Lanka from mostly Buddhist Myanmar, where Buddhist nationalism has also been on the rise.

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Government spokesman, Dayasiri Jayasekara said, "At a special cabinet meeting, it was decided to declare a state of emergency for 10 days to prevent the spread of communal riots to other parts of the country."

He added, "It was also decided to take stern action against people who are instigating violence through Facebook."

Earlier today, former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa wrote about the clashes on Twitter.

Rajapaksa tweeted "It is the Sri Lanka government's responsibility to maintain law and order in Digana. The action could have been taken sooner to prevent clashes. I urge residents to remain calm and act with reason."

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The Police said that there had been riots and arson attacks since the weekend in the Kandy district. The reports stated that the violence was spreading across the nation.

In the past, religious and ethnic violence had turned deadly in Sri Lanka.  

The country has a share of communities where Muslims account for 10 percent of the 21 million population, and Buddhists Sinhalese make up nearly 75 percent. Another 13 percent of the population are Hindus.