Curfew re-imposed in Colombo

[TamilNet, Thursday, 31 October 2002, 18:12 GMT]
Colombo north and central areas were again placed under curfew to quell further violence between the Sinhalese and Muslims, which has left one killed and at least a dozen wounded, police sources said. Muslims who took part in the funeral of the Muslim person who was killed in Thursday's clashes, attacked a Buddhist monk Friday. Another Muslim man was wounded when the Police opened fire to disperse the crowd.

The injured has now been warded in Colombo general hospital in a critical condition, medical sources said.

The police said the curfew which has been imposed in nine police divisions, Maradana, Maligawatte, Grandpass, Dematagoda, Keselwatte, Kotahena and Modera in the city of Colombo, will be lifted Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, at a top level security conference presided over by the Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe, Friday evening, at Temple Trees, it was decided to close all schools in the Colombo central, Colombo north and Borella areas to avert further clashes.

Minister Tilak Marapone, Interior Minister John Amaratunge, the Inspector General of Police, Minister Mohamed Maharoof and top officials of the three armed forces participated in the conference, sources said.

Tension built up for several days between the two communities over the construction of a building by Muslims at Bodhirajarama Mawatte, Maradana.

The Sinhalese claim that Muslims are constructing a mosque close to the Buddhist shrine in the area. The Muslims, however, said that they were expanding an existing Arabic school with the permission of the law courts.

In Thursday's incidents eleven three-wheelers, four lorries, nine motor bicycles, six bicycles, eight shops and two houses were completely burnt. In addition, several other business establishments were also damaged.

Muslim religious leaders and Buddhist priests have made appeals to their respective communities to show restraint and to help the law enforcement authorities to maintain law and order in bring the tense situation under control.

 

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