Fresh anti-Muslim riots erupt in Sri Lanka

Updated 16 June 2014
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Fresh anti-Muslim riots erupt in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan police clamped a curfew on a coastal resort Sunday after Buddhists attacked Muslims and mosques in the area, leaving several wounded and raising tensions. Muslims have expressed their deep concern over the situation and urged the government to intervene to end the violence.
Police have poured hundreds of reinforcements into Alutgama, 60 km south of the capital Colombo, after the two groups attacked each other with stones -- the latest in a series of religious clashes.
A police spokesman said trouble began when a group led by Buddhist monks tried to march in an area where there is a concentration of Muslims.
"The curfew was declared to bring the situation under control," a police officer in the area told reporters. There were no immediate reports of arrests.
Many activists from both sides as well as bystanders were injured during the evening clashes, according to witnesses who also reported seeing several vehicles smashed.
The latest unrest came weeks after Muslim legislators asked President Mahinda Rajapakse to protect their minority community from "Buddhist extremist elements" blamed for a recent spate of attacks.
Muslims make up about 10 percent of Sri Lanka's 20 million population. Nationalist Buddhist groups have in turn accused minorities of wielding undue political and economic influence.
Senior Buddhist monks have been caught on video threatening violence against their moderate colleagues who advocate tolerance.
Rajapakse, who is a Buddhist, warned monks in January last year not to incite religious violence.

During Sunday’s violence several people are reported to have been injured and shops and mosques burned. Eyewitness accounts tell of Muslims being pulled off local buses and beaten. There are also reports of looting.
The clashes are said to have begun after the rally held by the BBS, the Bodu Bala Sena, or Buddhist Brigade. The gathering came three days after a smaller clash between Muslim youths and a Buddhist monk's driver.
After its rally, the BBS marched into Muslim areas chanting anti-Muslim slogans, reports say, and the police used tear gas to quell the violence. Unconfirmed reports say security forces also used gunfire.
The situation is confusing and there is an air of danger as violence has spread to several areas, a BBC reporter in Aluthgama said.
Sri Lankan media appear to have decided not to report the violence, with sources saying outlets have received "orders from above".
The president has called for an investigation. "The government will not allow anyone to take the law into their own hands. I urge all parties concerned to act in restraint," Rajapakse tweeted.


India says Pakistan must take action against those behind Kashmir attack

Updated 19 February 2019
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India says Pakistan must take action against those behind Kashmir attack

  • Attack was one of the worst single attack against Indian forces in Kashmir

NEW DELHI: India angrily rejected Imran Khan’s offer of dialogue as tensions continued to increase after a suicide bomber killed more than 40 soldiers in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

India blamed Pakistan for the attack on Thursday in which a militant rammed a van full of explosives in to a bus carrying paramilitary troops. It was the worst single attack against Indian forces in Kashmir.

In a speech to the nation, the Pakistani prime minister on Tuesday offered to hold talks and asked India to show “actionable intelligence that a Pakistani is involved and we will take action.”

New Delhi described Khan’s offer as a “lame excuse.” The foreign ministry asked Khan to “stop misleading the international community” and take credible and visible action against the perpetrators of the attack in Pulwama and “terror groups operating from areas under their control.”

“Disclaiming any link between the terrorist attack and Pakistan is an oft-repeated excuse by Pakistan,” the statement said. “The Pakistani prime minister has ignored claims made by the Jaish-e-Mohammad, as well as by the terrorist who perpetrated this heinous crime. 

“It is a well-known fact that Jaish-e-Mohammad and its leader Masood Azhar are based in Pakistan. These should be sufficient proof for Pakistan to take action," the statement reads.

Militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad said it had carried out the attack.

The statement said Pakistan had failed to take action against those responsible for previous attacks against India, including the 2008 Mumbai massacre that killed 174 people.

“India has repeatedly stated that it is ready to engage in a comprehensive bilateral dialogue in an atmosphere free from terror and violence,” the statement said.

The attack has led to calls within in India for a firm response against Pakistan.

In his speech, Khan warned India that in the event of an attack Pakistan would retaliate.