Sri Lanka’s government has implemented a nation-wide state of emergency to “take stern action” against people initiating communal violence, a government spokesman has said.
This particular measure comes after a local curfew was imposed on Monday in the central city Kandy, after days of conflict between religious communities with a Buddhist man killed and Muslim businesses set afire.
Police said on Monday there had been uprisings and arson attacks since the weekend in Kandy district, while sources told Al Jazeera the violence was spreading throughout the South Asian island nation.
In the past, religious and ethnic violence had turned fatal in Sri Lanka, where Muslims account for 10 percent of the 21 million population, and Buddhists Sinhalese make up nearly 75 percent. Another 13 percent of the population are Hindus.
Some spectators blame the nationalist Buddhist organisation Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) group for the current violence.
In February 2018, five people were injured and more than a few shops and a mosque were damaged during a fight between Buddhist and Muslim groups.
In June 2014, an anti-Muslim campaign was launched soon after the deadly Aluthgama riots.
Some hardline Buddhist groups have also claimed that Muslim groups are forcing people to convert to Islam and are involved in vandalising Buddhist archaeological sites.
President Maithripala Siresena had sworn to investigate anti-Muslim crimes after assuming power in 2015, but no substantial progress has been reported.