Sri Lankan police investigating who promoted attacks on Muslims

Vastavam web: Sri Lankan police said on Friday they were investigating whether 10 suspected ringleaders of a wave of attacks on Muslims by Sinhalese Buddhists had outside funding or foreign help.The suspected leader of the group, Amith Jeewan Weerasinghe, and nine others were detained on Thursday on suspicion of involvement in attacks on mosques and Muslim-owned properties in the central Kandy district by nationalist crowds.

“We are investigating who funded them, their future plans, and whether they have any local political leadership and whether there was any foreign involvement behind this,” police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara told reporters in Colombo.He said all 10 suspects had been remanded in custody for 14 days and brought to Colombo for questioning. He said three were from Kandy and the other seven from outside the district.Cabinet spokesman Dayasiri Jayasekara said police in some places had failed to carry out orders to curb the violence.

Sri Lanka’s Muslims make up about 9 percent of its 21 million people and mostly live in the east and centre of the island. Buddhist Sinhalese account for about 70 percent and ethnic Tamils, most of whom are Hindus, about 13 percent.However, in some areas, Sinhalese have helped Muslims to protect mosques, Muslim community leaders told Reuters.Hundreds of Sinhalese including monks held a rally against the violence in Colombo on Friday, while many Muslim shopkeepers closed their doors in protest at the attacks.