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Anti-Muslim violence in Kandy, district on lockdown

Anti-Muslim violence in Kandy has resulted in a district-wide police curfew and closure of schools across the district as well as the deployment of Special Task Force troops.

The violence in the Digana and Teldeniya areas of Kandy occurred after a Sinhalese man died, allegedly after a road-rage incident led to an altercation between the deceased and a group of Muslim men.

Sinhala mobs, including Buddhist monks, set fire to two mosques as well as Muslim businesses and homes in the areas.

Local sources report at least 8 homes and 50 businesses were burnt in the attacks.

Police used tear gas to subdue a mob which had gathered around the Teldeniya police station and arrested 24 people.

A curfew until Tuesday morning 6:00am was imposed, and the Sri Lankan Minister of Education announced that all schools in the Kandy district would close and remain closed on Tuesday.

Special Task Force troops have also been called in to patrol the area.

Sri Lanka’s Department of Government Information released a special statement condemning the violence, and ministers including Mangala Samaraweera and Harsha de Silva took to Twitter to denounce the violence.

However the government’s response has been criticised by human rights activists and local commentators for failing to address the root causes of racially-motivated violence on the island.

The Sri Lankan President’s announcement that he had ordered an independent probe into the violence was also branded as inadequate and lacking in leadership.