A state of emergency has been declared in Sri Lanka for 10 days to prevent clashes between Buddhists and Muslims from spreading across the central district of Kandy and beyond, a government spokesman said. Tension has been building up in the region over allegations by local Buddhists that Muslims are forcibly converting them to Islam and vandalising their archaeological sites. Buddhists are also concerned over the presence of Muslim Rohingya asylum-seekers from Myanmar in the region. Government spokesman Dayasiri Jayasekara said the emergency move was decided at a special cabinet meeting. Social media users have been warned against posting content aimed at whipping up communal sentiments and instigating violence between communities. Curfew was imposed in Kandy on Monday after a mob torched a shop and the body of a Muslim was found in its charred rubble. Muslim homes, shops and mosques in the region were damaged in riots on Monday triggered by the murder of a local Buddhist by a mob a week ago. The Sinhalese, who are mainly Buddhists, make up nearly three-quarters of Sri Lanka’s 21 million people while Muslims constitute only 10 per cent.
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