Sri Lanka has imposed a nationwide 10 day state of emergency to “take stern action” against people instigating communal violence, according to a government spokesperson.
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The measure follows days of violence between Sinhalese and Muslim communities in the central district of Kandy. The violence is understood to have begun when a group of Muslim men were accused of killing a Sinhalese business owner.
The 41-year-old man succumbed to his injuries after being assaulted by a group of Muslim youth, who were reportedly under the influence of alcohol.
In the violence that followed, Muslim shops were burned to the ground by Sinhalese rioters. Mobs have also attacked Muslim homes and mosques.
Muslims account for 10 percent of the 21 million population of Sri Lanka; Buddhist Sinhalese make up nearly 75 percent. Another 13 percent of the population are Hindus.
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