A day after sending police and military into the district of Kandy — and imposing a curfew there to prevent communal clashes, the Maithripala Sirisena government has declared a nationwide 10-day-long state of emergency. The Indian cricket team is also in Sri lanka and is expected to face Sri Lanka in the first match of the triangular Nidahas Trophy — to mark 70 years of Sri Lankan Independence — that also features Bangladesh at 7 pm (IST) at Colombo’s Premadasa Stadium.
At the time of writing, neither the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) nor Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has issued a comment on the situation and the fate of the match and indeed, the series. However, senior BCCI official Rajeev Shukla tweeted:
Sri Lanka has declared a state of emergency for 10 days to rein in the spread of communal violence, a government spokesman said on Tuesday, a day after Buddhists and Muslims clashed in the Indian Ocean island’s central district of Kandy.
Tension has been growing between the two communities in Sri Lanka over the past year, with some hardline Buddhist groups accusing Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam and vandalising Buddhist archaeological sites.
Some Buddhist nationalist have also protested against the presence in Sri Lanka of Muslim Rohingya asylum-seekers from mostly Buddhist Myanmar, where Buddhist nationalism has also been on the rise.
“At a special cabinet meeting, it was decided to declare a state of emergency for 10 days to prevent the spread of communal riots to other parts of the country,” the spokesman, Dayasiri Jayasekara.
“It was also decided to take stern action against people who are instigating violence through Facebook,” he added, referring to postings on social media.