Tuesday, May 21, 2019 Last Updated 27 Min 35 Sec ago Malayalam Edition
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Monday 13 May 2019 11.47 AM

Social media blocked in Sri Lanka after unrest

Social media, face book, whatsapp

Colombo : The Sri Lankan government Monday blocked social media following rising tensions between the minority Muslims and majority Sinhalese in the wake of the Easter Sunday bombings which killed nearly 260 people. The blockade comes a day after Sri Lankan police imposed curfew in the country's western coastal town of Chilaw where a mob attacked a mosque and some shops owned by Muslims in a dispute that started on a Facebook post by a Muslim shop owner.

The blockade of Facebook and WhatsApp has been imposed form mid night following violent incidents between the minority Muslim and majority Sinhalese communities, officials said. Late in the evening on Sunday, the unrest spread to Kuliyapitiya where a mosque and a few Muslim owned shops came under attack, prompting the authorities to impose curfew in the northwest town.

"The curfew imposed in Kuliyapitya and Chilaw has been lifted," police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said. The majority nationalist groups have been active on Facebook, reviving calls for boycotts of Muslim-owned businesses and spreading hate. The voilence is a direct fallout from the Eastern Sunday's suicide bombings.

Nine suicide bombers, including a woman, carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through three churches and three luxury hotels, killing 258 people and injuring over 500 others on April 21. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the government has blamed local Islamist extremist group, the National Thawheed Jama'ath (NTJ), for the bombings. Sri Lanka has previously blocked social media several times after the Eastern Sunday bombings to prevent the spread of false news reports. PTI

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