A 24-hour curfew was imposed in Kandy district, the hotspot of recent deadly unrest between Buddhists and Muslims, on Wednesday, March 7, after rioting broke out on March 6 and continued overnight. The curfew was suspended on the morning of Thursday, March 8, to allow residents to carry out daily activities but schools remain closed. Disruptions to travel are possible. The curfew is expected to be re-imposed from 18:00 (local time) on March 8.
Additionally, on March 7, authorities suspended internet access and blocked access to social media due alleged use of various platforms (e.g. Facebook) to spread anti-Muslim sentiment.
Further security contingents have been deployed to the district to prevent the unrest from spreading.
The government declared a ten-day nationwide state of emergency on March 6 following clashes that broke out between Buddhists and Muslims in Kandy. A local curfew was first imposed in the district on March 5, after days of unrest between the two religious communities. Two people have been killed in the violence, including one Buddhist killed by a Muslim mob and one Muslim killed in a fire; a number of Muslim business have been set on fire by Buddhist extremists and a mosque was attacked the week prior.
Tensions have been intensifying between the two communities in Sri Lanka over the past year, with some hardline Buddhist groups accusing Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam and vandalizing Buddhist sites. In November 2017, riots in the south of the island left one man dead. In June 2014, riots between Buddhists and Muslims left four dead and many more injured.
Individuals present in Sri Lanka are advised to avoid Kandy district and follow all instructions issued by authorities (e.g. curfews).