Five people have been wounded in an attack by Buddhist mobs on a mosque in the Grandpass area of the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo.
Hundreds of police, including anti - riot squads and elite Special Task Force commandos, were deployed to the area on Saturday following the overnight violence. “The curfew was lifted this morning, but we have a strong presence in the area, ” a police spokesman said on Sunday. Islamic clerics expressed concern about the violence by Buddhist mobs, who have been mounting a campaign against Muslim and Christian targets in the area. “We were surprised because we thought things were settling down, ” said Fazin Farook, spokesman for the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama.
“With this attack, we are worried again and we see this(anti - Muslim) trend continuing. We condemn this attack, ” Farook said.
He also stated that an anti-Muslim campaign torched two Muslim-owned businesses just outside the capital in March. Three Buddhist monks and 14 others have been arrested in connection with the arson attacks. “We thought things were settling down since then. The government had also done a lot to calm the situation, but this incident came up suddenly and that has worried the community,” Farook said. The Sri Lanka Muslim Council, an umbrella organization of Muslim civil society groups, also condemned the attack. “There were police deployed to guard the mosque, but unfortunately the constables were unable to maintain law and order,” said council president N. M. Ameen. “The community is very worried and concerned about safety.” Residents said dozens of men stormed the mosque and started throwing stones and beating up worshippers following ringing of temple bells in the area. Several homes in the area have also been damaged, residents said.