Emergency in Kandy: Top UN official to visit Sri Lanka, expected to visit riot-hit area

Tensions between hardline Buddhist groups in the area was building for over a year Photograph:( WION )

WION Web Team Kandy, Sri Lanka Mar 07, 2018, 02.27 AM (IST)

As the Lankan government announced a 10-day emergency after Muslim, Buddhist riots in Kandy, the UN has announced it will send its political chief Jeffrey Feltman to the riot-hit region.

"We are obviously concerned over reports of the ongoing communal violence and we welcome the government's commitment to addressing the tensions and achieve reconciliation," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Feltman, who is the UN under-secretary-general for political affairs, will hold talks with the Sri Lankan government and is expected to visit Kandy.

"We urge all Sri Lankans to resolve their difference through dialogue," Dujarric added cautiously.

Reports said Sinhalese burned mosques, homes and businesses belonging to Muslims which led the Lankan government to impose emergency in Kandy

Tensions between hardline Buddhist groups and Muslims in the area was building for over a year after the Buddhists accused the Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam and vandalising Buddhist archaeological sites.

The unrest in 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 said.

Just after the funeral, Sinhalese mob attacked Muslim shops. Police said later that body of a Muslim youth was found in a burnt-out house on Tuesday leading to renewed tensions.

On Monday, authorities had imposed curfew in Kandy, however, as the tension continued the government decided to impose a 10-day emergency in the area.

 

Protesters gathered outside Kandy's police station on Monday (March 5), demanding the release of people arrested after communal unrest between the Buddhist Sinhalese and Muslim community and when rioters set Muslim-owned businesses on fire. (Reuters,Others)

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