Sri Lanka imposes curfew in western coastal town after communal clashes

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One person was killed in Sri Lanka on Monday as police fired tear gas at mobs attacking mosques and Muslim-owned shops and imposed a curfew after the worst outbreak of sectarian violence since the Easter bombings.

Several dozen people threw stones at mosques and Muslim-owned stores and a man was beaten in the Christian-majority town of Chilaw on the west coast on Sunday in a dispute that started on Facebook, sources told Reuters.

The government also imposed a ban on social media after that clash.

A 38-year-old Muslim businessman identified as the author of the post that sparked the violence was arrested.

Islamic State or Daesh claimed responsibility for the deadly attacks that left 257 people dead and several hundred others injured.

The arrest comes after eight coordinated explosions jolted Sri Lankan cities of Colombo, Negombo, Kochchikede and Batticaloa on April 21 as the Christian community celebrated Easter.

Sri Lanka's commanders of the three armed forces, however, said there was no risk of a terrorist attack taking place in the country on Monday.

The island nation has ramped up security as fears grow that minority Muslims among its population of 22 million could face sectarian violence after Islamist bombers blew themselves up in four hotels and three churches, killing more than 250 people.

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"Don´t laugh more, 1 day u will cry", was posted on Facebook by a Muslim shopkeeper, and local Christians took it to be a warning of an impending attack. Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo, cancelled all masses since the Easter Sunday until the security situation could improve.

Police spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekera said the curfew would remain in effect until further notice.

The attacks consisted nearly exclusively of vandalism: broken windows, damaged bicycles parked outside one of the mosques, and Qurans left strewn on the ground in some mosques, an act of disrespects that in some Muslim-majority countries would trigger prosecution.

"We call upon the members of the Muslim communities to be more patient and guard your actions and avoid unnecessary postings or hosting on social media", the ACJU said.

Internet service providers said they have been instructed by the telecommunications regulator to block access to Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and other platforms.

The Sunday curfews came as Catholic churches held their first Sunday mass amid tight security.

The primary schools which did not open after the attacks resumed classes Monday with low attendance.

The security forces are conducting round the clock security operations since the attack in the crackdown on radical Muslims with links to the bombings.

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