Sri Lanka declares state of emergency in wake of communal violence
A state of emergency has been imposed in Sri Lanka for the first time since the civil war following days of communal violence between the island's Sinhalese and Muslim communities. The special measures, enacted by the government Tuesday, will see soldiers deployed across the island for an initial 10-day period in a bid to prevent the unrest from spreading. Violence has so far centered in and around the city of Kandy, located in the island's Central Province, where the death of a Sinhalese Buddhist youth on March 4, allegedly at the hands of a group of Muslim men, has sparked riots and arson attacks on Muslim businesses and mosques. Sinhalese Buddhists make up about 75% of the population in Kandy. On Tuesday morning, the body of a 28-year-old Muslim man was pulled from the burned-out wreckage of a house set on fire the previous day by Sinhalese Buddhists in Aluthwatte, some 35 kilometers (21.7 miles) north west of Kandy. Images shared on social media show widespread damage to Muslim areas of Kandy, with stores and businesses destroyed and buildings vandalized. "We want to make sure the communal violence doesn't spread all over Sri Lanka. We have to think about all the communities in the country. That is why the government imposed the state of emergency in the country to control the situation," Dayasiri Jayasekara, a government spokesperson, told CNN. Sri Lankan police commandos on the streets of Pallekele, a suburb of Kandy, on March 6, 2018. Sri Lankan police commandos on the streets of Pallekele, a suburb of Kandy, on March 6, 2018. In Kandy, a strict curfew remains in place in the most volatile areas of the city. Extra troops and additional police have also been deployed, according to Jayasekara. The city, the country's second largest, is an important religious center for Buddhists, and is home to numerous monasteries and temple complexes. The Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, condemned the "racist and violent acts" in Kandy and promised to "take further action." Debris from a damaged shop in the city of Kandy on March 6, 2018. Debris from a damaged shop in the city of Kandy on March 6, 2018. Violence triggered