Sri Lanka capital quiet amid tight security

Written by: IANS
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Colombo, June 20: Sri Lanka's Muslim community gathered peacefully at mosques around Colombo for prayers Friday amid tight security by police who feared protests over communal clashes that left four people dead.

Police put a special security plan in place after clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in the southern towns of Aluthgama and Beruwala led to more than two days of curfew, reports Xinhua.

Dozens of houses and shops were burnt by mobs after the hardline Buddhist group Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) or Buddhist Task Force held a rally in the areas. Its leaders were accused of making racially inflammatory speeches.

Muslims account for about 10 percent of the country's 20 million people, with the Sinhalese, who are mainly Buddhistsm accounting for the majority 75 percent.

On Thursday, the Muslim community in Colombo and parts of the the Eastern Province staged protests by closing their shops.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has slammed "small extremist groups" which he said were attempting to destroy peace in Sri Lanka.

He pledged to provide compensation to those affected by the violence and bring offenders to justice.


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