Over 230 arrested over communal clashes in Central Sri Lanka

BY APD NEWSMar 12,2018 at 16:08

Over 230 people have so far been arrested over the communal clashes in Kandy in Central Sri Lanka, including those who were caught spreading hate speech on social media platforms, police said Monday.

A police official told Xinhua that while the situation in Kandy had returned to normal, tight security would remain for a few more days across the district to maintain law and order.

He said further arrests were expected over the next few days and a special desk had been set up at the police headquarters for the public to lodge complaints about any violent incidents.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe visited Kandy over the weekend to meet the victims affected by the violence and assessed the extent of damages. He promised the government would pay full compensation for those whose businesses, homes, mosques and temples had been destroyed in the clash.

The prime minister also said the clashes had created new challenges for the government at the local and international levels and it was a blow to the country's tourism and economy.

"We have been expecting a boom in the tourism industry but in the wake of disturbances in Kandy we don't know whether we could achieve it as expected."

During his inspection, Wickremesinghe was informed that nearly 465 houses, business establishments and vehicles were destroyed and damaged by the violence. Many mosques and temples were also destroyed.

Wickremesinghe further said an organised group was behind the communal clashes in Kandy and the police had already received vital information about it.

"I have directed the law and order minister and the inspector general of police to conduct an urgent investigation into the matter and take necessary actions about it," the prime minister said.

Also over the weekend, President Maithripala Sirisena appointed a three-member committee to investigate the violence.

Meanwhile, all government-run schools which had remained closed in the Kandy District since clashes erupted on March 4 were re-opened Monday under the instructions of the education ministry.

Three people were killed and several others injured in the communal clashes.

President Sirisena declared a week-long state of emergency on Tuesday to prevent violations from spreading to other areas, the first of its kind after the country ended a 30-year civil war in 2009.

The latest clash was triggered after a 41-year-old man succumbed to his injuries after being attacked by a group of people on Feb. 22.

(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)

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