Sri Lanka forced to declare emergency following anti-Muslim violence

An island-wide state of emergency has been declared by Sri Lanka president following two days of anti-Muslim riots in the central hill country.

The new emergency measure has been announced while the body of a young Muslim, Samsudeen Abdul Basith (24) was found inside a house in Digana set on fire by Sinhala mobs.

A tweet from the office of President Maithripala Sirisena said the decree would “redress the unsatisfactory security situation prevailing in certain parts of the country.” It said the country’s security forces “have been suitably empowered to deal with criminal elements in the society and urgently restore normalcy.”

Muslim and civil society leaders who came hard on police for inaction, had sounded the alarm in advance that uncontrolled violence could spread to other areas of the island. 

'Stern Action'

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who acknowledged that the violence was systemic and organised while referring to an unidentified  group for circulating misinformation against Muslims “for the last nine months”.

“It is clearly evident that disseminating fake news, especially through social media that incite hatred among nationalities is done in an organised manner,” the PM told parliament.

The PM who is also the minister for law and order  promised to take “stern action”.

Meanwhile a group of Muslim MPs staged a sit-in protest in the middle of parliament chamber condemning the increasing violence against the Muslim population.

Several journalists and activists have named a few organisations and Sinhala hardliners as perpetrators  via social media outlets.



Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

  • JDS is the Sri Lankan partner organization of international media rights group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The launching of this website was made possible by the EU’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), of which Reporters Without Borders is a beneficiary.