President Maithripala Sirisena and the Cabinet today made a decision to declare a state of emergency for 10 days following the violence prevailed in some parts of the country, Minister of Social Empowerment S B Dissanayake said.
Police had been placed on alert in Kandy, home to famous tea plantations and Buddhist relics, to ensure that the "situation does not spiral into inter-communal conflagration", the government said. The government said some people were trying to instigate communal violence via social media and warned stern action against them.
The government has appealed to all parties and the general public to remain calm and act with responsibility, following a tense situation that took place in Digana today.
Heavily armed police units have been deployed in the central district of Kandy, a tourist area famed for its tea plantations and Buddhist sites.
In a statement, Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty's South Asia director, said: "A state of emergency has been declared after two incidents of serious violence against members of the country's Muslim minority".
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The country has a share of communities where Muslims account for 10 percent of the 21 million population, and Buddhists Sinhalese make up almost 75 percent.
"The government will not hesitate to take firm and stem action against perpetrators of crimes, and those who violate the law and order", Gunawardhana added.
"One of the key underlying elements is the sense that many Sinhalese and Buddhists have is that Sri Lanka is a Sinhalese and Buddhist island and other community, Muslims and Tamils, are here on the sufferance of the majority", Keenan said.
Police have arrested several people and had extended the curfew after the body of a muslim man was removed from a burnt building. Mobs set fire to Muslim-owned businesses and attacked a mosque, and violence was reportedly spreading throughout the country, according to Al Jazeera. Muslims are just 10 percent of its population.