New Delhi: The Sri Lankan government on Monday blocked some social media networks, following rising tensions between the minority Muslims and majority Sinhalese in the aftermath of the bloody Easter Sunday.
Sri Lanka was rocked by a series of suicide attacks in three cities, including its capital Colombo on Easter, striking three churches and three luxury hotels that killed at least 263 people and injured over 500.
The blockade comes a day after Sri Lanka reopened its churches for Catholics to observe Mass on the first Sunday since the bombings. Till May 12, all Catholics of the island nation had been observing their Sunday Mass from the confines of their homes- as the government had ordered shut all churches due to fear of continued attacks.
This move by the government also comes in wake of a curfew imposed by the Sri Lankan police in the country’s western coastal town of Chilaw where a mob attacked a mosque and some shops owned by Muslims in a dispute that started on a Facebook post by a Muslim shop owner.
The block on Facebook and WhatsApp has been imposed from midnight following violent incidents between the minority Muslim and majority Sinhalese communities, officials said. Late in the evening on Sunday, the unrest spread to Kuliyapitiya where a mosque and a few Muslim owned shops came under attack, prompting the authorities to impose curfew in the northwest town.
The majority of nationalist groups have been active on Facebook, reviving calls for boycotts of Muslim-owned businesses and spreading hate.
This is a reactionary move to the eight suicide bombings that took place on Easter, experts say.
Meanwhile, addressing service in a Colombo church, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith the Archbishop of Colombo, said everyone responsible for neglecting the intelligence and prior warnings on the attacks including the political leadership must be brought to book.
Sri Lanka has a population of 21 million which is a patchwork of ethnicities and religions, dominated by the Sinhalese Buddhist majority. Muslims account for 10 per cent of the population and are the second-largest minority after Hindus. Around seven per cent of Sri Lankans are Christians.
With PTI inputs