Foreign governments and organisations have expressed concern as reports say rioting and arson attacks by Buddhist mobs in Sri Lanka are continuing.
The US, which has led international condemnation of Sri Lanka’s human rights record, has urged the government to end the violence.
“We urge the authorities in SL to investigate these attacks and bring those responsible to justice,” Nisha Biswal, US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, said on Twitter on Tuesday.
The US embassy in Colombo on Sunday condemned the violence that has so far left at least four people dead and more than 80 people wounded, with large-scale destruction of property.
For her part, Navi Pillay, the UN human rights chief, expressed concern that the religious riots could spread to other areas of Sri Lanka and demanded that the government immediately bring the perpetrators of Sunday’s attacks to justice.
“The government must urgently do everything it can to arrest this violence, curb the incitement and hate speech which is driving it, and protect all religious minorities,” she said in a statement issued in Geneva, Switzerland.
At least one person said to be a Tamil security guard was killed in overnight violence in Welipenna, on the outskirts of Aluthgama, the worst affected town, while a mosque was allegedly set on fire despite the announcement of an indefinite curfew.
“We have been forced to defend our homes because the police and army are doing nothing. We asked them to come last night and they only arrived after the mobs burnt the mosque,” Abdul Maulana, a shop owner in Welipenna, told Al Jazeera.
“More than a dozen houses and shops have been burnt overnight,” a police source told AFP news agency from Aluthgama although there were no reports of fresh violence in the neighbouring town of Beruwala.
Hundreds of soldiers have been deployed to help police which said that the curfew would remain in force although residents would be given a four hour window to stock up on provisions till noon (06:30 GMT). ALJAZEERA