Reuters, March 6, 2018
Sri Lanka declared a nationwide state of emergency for 10 days on Tuesday to stop the spread of communal violence, a government spokesman said, after clashes erupted between majority Buddhists and members of the minority Muslim community.
Tension has been growing between the two communities in Sri Lanka over the past year, with some hardline Buddhist groups accusing Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam and vandalising Buddhist archaeological sites.
Some Buddhist nationalists have also protested against the presence in Sri Lanka of Muslim Rohingya asylum-seekers from mostly Buddhist Myanmar, where Buddhist nationalism has also been on the rise.
The unrest in the Indian Ocean island’s central district of Kandy began on Sunday after the funeral of a truck driver from the majority Sinhalese Buddhist community who died days after he was involved in an altercation with four Muslims, the government has said.
Muslims make up about 9 percent of Sri Lanka’s 21 million people. Buddhists make up about 70 percent and ethnic Tamils, most of whom are Hindus, about 13 percent.