ALUTGAMA: Sri Lanka slapped an indefinite curfew in a popular tourist region Monday after rioting Buddhist mobs killed three Muslims in a surge of religious violence that triggered international concern.
Local community leaders accused authorities of doing little to prevent Sunday night’s carnage that made hundreds of Muslims homeless after attacks on their homes, shops, factories, mosques and even a nursery.
The most senior Muslim member of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government threatened to quit at the decision to allow militant Buddhists to rally in the flashpoint region.
UN human rights chief Navi Pillay expressed concern that the religious riots could spread to other areas of Sri Lanka and demanded that Colombo immediately bring the perpetrators of attacks to justice.
“The government must urgently do everything it can to arrest this violence, curb the incitement and hate speech which is driving it, and protect all religious minorities,” Pillay said in a statement issued in Geneva. “I am very concerned this violence could spread to Muslim communities in other parts of the country,” she added.
The US, which has led international condemnation of Sri Lanka’s human rights record, had also urged Colombo to end the violence.