Sri Lankan Prime Minister visits restive southern coastal town hit by Buddhist-Muslim communal violence

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today (Nov 19) visited the southern coastal town of Gintota in Galle district where clashes between the Buddhist and Muslim communities erupted injuring four people and resulting in damages to properties.

Meeting with the affected people, the Prime Minister said the police have been instructed to strictly enforce the law against the people inciting violence and damaging properties regardless of their status.

The Prime Minister inspected several houses and shops damaged by the clashes and discussed the situation with both Sinhala and Muslim residents.

Home Affairs Minister and Galle District UNP leader Vajira Abeywardena, Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake and Parliamentarian Wijaypala Hettiarachchi were also participated in the meetings with the people.

The Prime Minister inspecting a damaged house in Vidathagoda, Mahahapulugama said the government is taking steps to maintain law and order. The police have arrested the people who incited the clashes and they will be punished regardless of their status, he assured.

The Premier said the government will pay compensation for the damages to the properties after obtaining a report on the damages through the Grama Niladhari and evaluating the losses.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said he has given instructions to Minister of Home Affairs Vajira Abeywardena and Minister of Law and Order Sagala Ratnayake regarding all matters.

“Nobody needs to worry that there were no police records on the attacks, now we need to control this situation and establish peace and we have immediately taken measures,” he said.

The Premier said the police and military have been deployed to provide protection to the people and to prevent outsiders from coming and initiating attacks. The Police have been instructed to impose curfew if necessary, he said adding that the special police deployed will not be removed until normalcy is fully restored and security is established.

During a visit to a Muslim house damaged by the attacks, the resident pointing out that the two communities lived in the village in harmony for decades requested the Premier to stop attempts by some people to destroy the peace based on a small incident.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe assured that the government will not allow any such disruptions in the future.

The Prime Minister said that the necessary security has been established bringing the situation under control and the government will provide compensation to the affected properties.

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