Sri Lanka declares state of emergency over riots

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s cabinet Tuesday decided to impose a 10-day state of emergency to quell anti-Muslim riots that have killed at least two people and damaged dozens of mosques and homes, minister Rauff  Hakeem said.

He said the cabinet had a special discussion ahead of their weekly meeting to discuss the deteriorating situation in Theldeniya and Digana in the district of Kandy which has been under a night curfew.

"The cabinet of ministers decided on tough measures, including a 10-day nationwide state of emergency," Minister of City Planning Rauff Hakeem said. “We want to send a strong message to trouble makers.”

Leader of the House, Lakshman Kiriella, said the emergency was aimed at restoring order in the country and preventing an escalation of violence which has so far been confined to the Kandy district.

The emergency gives sweeping powers to security forces to arrest and detain suspects for long periods. It also allows the government to deploy security forces to deal with riots.

The government was resorting to the extraordinary law for the first time in nearly seven years since the emergency was lifted in August 2011. Sri Lanka was under a state of emergency for nearly three decades to deal with Tamil rebels who were eventually crushed in 2009. (COLOMBO, March 6, 2018)


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