Wayamba under curfew as violence spreads

Muslim leaders are condemning police indifference which they say has led to the spread of communal violence in several areas in the Kurunegala district.

The government imposed a police curfew on the entire North Western province this afternoon. The curfew will remain in force until further notice, the Police Media spokesman said.

Earlier in the afternoon, the Army was deployed in the troubled Kuliyapitiya area after fresh violence forced the authorities to re-impose a curfew that was lifted at 6 am today.

The troops were rushed in this afternoon, a MOD spokesman said.

That curfew was imposed in Kuliyapitiya, Hettipola, Bingiriya, and Dummalasuriya police areas, Police headquarters said.

Later the curfew was extended to cover the whole province.

Office workers returning to places like Gampaha were caught off-guard.

The Ministry of Defense confirmed that troops had been rushed in later in the afternoon as the rioting escalated in Hettipola and Kuliyapitiya.

Residents reported seeing tires burning in the streets.

Hilmy Ahamed Vice-President of the Sri Lanka Muslim Council told RepublicNext that the police are doing little or nothing to curb the violence.

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“When the curfew was in force yesterday most people were indoors while the mobs roamed free,” he said.

Ahamed was at Police Headquarters this afternoon meeting high-level officials to bring these issues to their notice.

A number of businesses owned by Muslims as well as their homes have been set on fire, he alleged.

One building was set alight in close proximity to the Hettipola Police station.

Ahamed said according to community members three mosques had been attacked in that region.

He went on to say that this was similar to what Muslims have observed in previous instances when mobs attacked them.

“This is the same pattern we saw in Digana, Aluthgama, Gintota, and Ampara. Every time the police took no action and allowed the rioters to burn and loot,” he said.

We made several attempts to reach SP Ruwan Gunesekara the Police Media Spokesman by phone and text for comment but he was not available.

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