Sri Lanka: Buddhist extremists attack mosque, shops

Sri Lanka: Buddhist extremists attack mosque, shops

Colombo: The tense situation, which had prevailed in the Ampara town in eastern Sri Lanka last night after a group of people attacked Muslim shops and a mosque. At least five people were wounded and several shops and a mosque damaged in the clash between majority Sinhalese Buddhists and minority Muslims, police said.

A police spokesman said an investigation has been launched to apprehend persons responsible for the attack on the mosque and several shops in Ampara town. Renewed tension has been growing between the two communities since last year, with some hardline Buddhist groups accusing Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam and vandalizing Buddhist archaeological sites.

Police had been deployed in the eastern town of Ampara to control the unrest after a Sinhalese mob attacked a mosque, four shops and several vehicles late on Monday, spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said. Gunasekara said no arrests had been made so far. The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL), an umbrella body that includes most Muslim organizations in the country, condemned the attack and requested the government to conduct an impartial inquiry into it and arrest the perpetrators.

Last year in November similar kind of attacks took place in Sri Lankan where police arrested 19 people after violent clashes erupted in Galle District. A police curfew had been imposed in six areas across the district. A police official told Xinhua news agency that the situation had not returned to normal and tight security would remain across the district throughout the day.

Over 200 police officers and 100 officers from the Special Task Force were deployed in Galle following the violence which erupted between Buddhist and Muslim groups on Friday night. Media reports said the groups had clashed over an accident which had escalated to violence. Several people were injured in the clashes while some houses had also been damaged.

With agencies inputs