COLOMBO – Social networks across Sri Lanka were blocked on Wednesday by the government as around 600 troops were deployed in the central Kandy region, where incidents of violence between Muslims and Sinhalese Buddhists continued despite a state of emergency.
The government declared a state of emergency on Tuesday following communal clashes in the country.
The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission first ordered internet operators to block social networking sites and instant messaging applications in Kandy and then extended it to other parts of the country.
“We have sent instructions for the pages to be temporarily blocked,” an official of the commission who asked not to be named told EFE.
Moreover, according to army spokesperson Brigadier Sumith Atapattu, nearly 600 troops have been deployed to bring the situation under control, which were supporting the already strong police presence in the affected area.
The source said that at least two incidents of violence occurred on Wednesday morning, but did not provide details.
The government on Wednesday extended the curfew in the Kandy administrative region after Buddhist mobs attacked places of worship, houses and shops belonging to Muslims for the third consecutive day.
In Thennekubura town, around 300 people attacked shops and houses on Tuesday night, according to national police spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekara.
“This is communal violence, very different from a war situation. The groups that are causing violence are not armed. We are using minimum force to control the situation,” the Chief of Defense Staff Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne said in a press conference.
Authorities had already imposed a curfew on Monday and arrested more than 20 people in Kandy for violent unrest, after a Buddhist person died in a fight with four Muslims.
Following his burial on Tuesday, a wave of disturbances broke out in Teldeniya, where supposed radical Buddhists burned a mosque and some 100 shops.
A 24-year-old Muslim man was found to have burned to death after he was trapped in the flames.
These are the most significant communal clashes in Sri Lanka since 2014, when violence between Muslims and Buddhists in two cities in the southern part of the country had left four people dead and 16 injured.