SL troops on alert after fresh communal violence

Sangakkara, Jayawardene and others condemn Sri Lanka violence

The riots, which began on Monday after a man from the Sinhalese majority died from injuries sustained in an attack by Muslims a week earlier, have left almost 200 Muslim businesses and homes destroyed. Declaring a state of emergency seemed stern but the right thing to do in trying to stem the violence between the majority Sinhala Buddhists and the minority Muslims.

Sri Lanka's ambassador to Ankara has said he expects the communal violence, which has prompted a state of emergency in his country, to end soon.

So far, Sri Lankan police have arrested 81 people for instigating violence, he said.

"We are concerned by the acts of violence recently perpetrated in various regions of Sri Lanka and targeting the Muslim population and their buildings", the Turkish ministry said in a written statement Tuesday.

However, three boats belonging to a Muslim businessman outside the district were torched, police said.

Rajapaksha urged both the Sinhalese and Muslim communities to live peacefully and accused the government of failing in its duties in controlling the situation. President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have responded by increasing the deployment of forces in the area for 10 days.

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The Sri Lankans have followed the classic pattern of shutting down social media access for a while, hoping the tensions subside once people are kept away from it, specially as they were being fed with rumours of attacks on places of worship.

"There were no incidents during the Friday prayers", a police official in Colombo said, adding that investigators had stepped up the search for those who took part in the violence.

Almost 75 percent of Sri Lankans belong to the majority Sinhalese community while Tamils make up another 13 percent.

At 7% of the population, Muslims are the third-largest community in the country.

In 2014, violence directed against Muslim minority groups broke out in the southwestern town of Aluthgama, following a rally by hardline Buddhist nationalist monks, resulting in the death of at least three Muslims.


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