Sri Lanka's North Western province descended into unbridled violence today, as Sinhalese mobs attacked several mosques, set ablaze shops and stoned Muslim homes in the Kurungela District.
The attack was triggered by a group of people demanding a search of the building after soldiers inspected a lake nearby looking for weapons, Reuters news agency reports. "This is the first death from the riots".
"The curfew in the three districts will be lifted at 6.00am (0130 BST) on Tuesday while in the rest of the country, a curfew will be imposed from 9.00pm till 4.00am", police said in a statement.
Sri Lanka has been on the edge since the April 21 horror when suicide bombers exploded themselves in three churches and three luxury hotels besides two other places.
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The government blocked social media platforms including WhatsApp and Facebook as the violence spread.
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Amid the unrest, the Army fired shots in the air to disperse the mobs but the unrest spread to other towns, the Daily Mirror reported.
"They have burnt our mosques and smashed many shops owned by Muslims", a resident told Reuters by telephone, asking not to be identified for fear of reprisals.
She also said that the attacks did not emerge out of a vacuum and that there were clear signs that a backlash against Muslims was underway and the authorities could have acted on reports of threats earlier, potentially preventing much of the violence over recent days.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in an address to the nation, said the military has been asked to quell the anti-Muslim riot and urged public cooperation to the security forces to bring the situation under control.
"The government says that security forces have restored calm to streets in the areas affected by violence and insist officers are preventing revenge attacks on Muslims", BBC points out. Meanwhile, President Maithripala Sirisena has issued a gazette notice banning three Islamic extremist organisations, including National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ) that was blamed for the Easter bombings. The Islamic State group has said it was involved but has given no details.
Dozens of people have been detained since the Easter attacks, and with security heightened students are only allowed into schools after checks for explosives.