Following the attacks on mosques and the Muslim-owned stores on Sunday, the Sri Lankan authorities have blocked social media platforms and messaging apps like Facebook and WhatsApp.
A few weeks after the catastrophic serial bombings in Colombo and nearby regions, by Islamist militants on Easter Sunday, mosques and Muslim-owned businesses were attacked on May 12.
Dozens of people pelted stones at mosques and Muslim-owned stored and a man was beaten in the town of Chilaw on the west coast on Sunday. It was reported that a dispute on Facebook resulted in the attacks targeting the community.
As per reports, a 38-year-old man named Abdul Hameed has been arrested after his online comment reading “one day you will cry” sparked a massive row on Facebook as it was interpreted as threatening violence.
The blockade of Facebook and WhatsApp has been imposed form midnight following violent incidents between the minority Muslim and majority Sinhalese communities, officials told PTI.
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 curfew imposed in Kuliyapitya and Chilaw has been lifted,” police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said.
The majority of nationalist groups have been active on Facebook, reviving calls for boycotts of Muslim-owned businesses and spreading hate.
The violence is a direct fallout from the Eastern Sunday’s suicide bombings.
Nine suicide bombers, including a woman, carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through three churches and three luxury hotels, killing 258 people and injuring over 500 others on April 21.