Curfew following communal violence

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 16 February 1999, 17:49 GMT]
The Sri Lankan Police declared curfew in Nochchiyagama, in the northcentral province, about 170 kilometers northwest of Colombo, today following an attack on Muslim shops in the town last night.

Seven businesses belonging to Muslims in Nochchiyagama were smashed up by Sinhala mobs last night.

Tension enveloped the town today following the attack.

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) sources in Colombo said that they were still studying the situation.

They, however, asserted that the attack is a manifestation of a systematic effort by well organised Sinhala Chauvinist elements to drive out Muslim businesses from rural Sinhala areas.

A SLMC source referred to an attempt by these elements to persuade Sinhalese in the town of Mahiyangana not to rent out shops to Muslim businesses.

"This is a very disturbing trend" he said.


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