May 23, 2019
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One stabbed to death in anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka

Minuwangoda, Sri Lanka, May 14 (efe-epa).- One person has been stabbed to death in a wave of anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka that began on May 12 in an apparent retaliation to the deadly Easter bombings last month, sources said on Tuesday.

Shops owned by Muslims and mosques have been vandalized or torched even as strict curfew was imposed across the island on Monday night.

The death occurred in the town of Chilaw in Puttalam district of Northwestern Province, the worst-affected by violent outbreak.

The victim had stab wounds, a source from the Marawila Hospital, the regional health center where the body was taken, told EFE.

The nationwide curfew imposed on Monday night in view of the attacks on mosques and Muslim properties at various locations was relaxed at 4 am Tuesday (22.00 GMT Monday).

But restrictions continue to be in force in the Northwestern Province, said the Sri Lankan police in a statement.

There was a relative calm in Minuwangoda, some 40 km (25 miles) north of Colombo, after restrictions on public gathering in the violence-affected area ended two hours later than in the rest of the country.

Local police spokesperson Rohan Rajapaksa confirmed to EFE that some 40 shops owned by Muslims were attacked in the last two days in the area.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which represents the country's Sri Lankan Tamil minority, expressed deep concern over the incidents.

It stressed that some of violent incidents took place when the curfew was in place, evidencing the lack of effective measures by security forces.

“There can be no room for terrorism in this country- not for the terrorism that bombs churches, and not for terrorism that attacks mosques,” M.A. Sumanthiran, a parliamentarian and TNA spokesperson, said in a statement.

Violence erupted on Sunday in the city of Kurnegala, about a 100 km northeast of Colombo, three weeks after a series of coordinated bombings targeted three churches and three luxury hotels on Apr. 21, Easter Sunday.

The suicide bombings claimed by the global terror network Islamic State left 253 dead and over 500 wounded.

Investigators said the suicide bombers belonged to local Islamist organizations National Thowheed Jamath and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim.

Following the deadly bombings, Muslim religious authorities decided to temporarily suspend the weekly Friday congregational prayers amid fear of retaliatory attacks.

The president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka, Cardinal Albert Malcolm Ranjith, has made repeated calls for calm.

cd-njd/sp/ssk

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