Sri Lanka Blocks Some Social Media Sites After Violent Incidents

Certain social media networks and messaging apps, including Facebook and WhatsApp, have been blocked temporarily.

2 min read
The Islamic State had claimed responsibility for a series of devastating suicide attacks that had killed 359 people in Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan government on Monday, 13 May, announced that it has temporarily blocked certain social media networks and messaging apps, including Facebook and WhatsApp, after violent incidents in the wake of Easter bombings.

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

There have also been several reported incidents in sensitive areas across the country, the report added.

This, in effect, has reinstated the nationwide social media ban imposed to curb the spread of misinformation after the devastating Easter Sunday bombings, that had killed 359 people.

The ban had initially been lifted on 30 April. The government had asked the public to share content on social media sites with "utmost responsibility" while bearing in mind the current situation of the country, PTI had reported.

Social media had remained blocked in Sri Lanka immediately after the attack, in which a string of powerful blasts had torn through three churches and as many luxury hotels on 21 April.

The Islamic State has claimed the attacks, but the government had blamed local Islamist extremist group National Thowheeth Jamaath for the bombings.

Saudi Trainer of Easter Bombing Kingpin Held

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan authorities have arrested a Saudi-educated scholar for what they claim are links with Zahran Hashim, the suspected ringleader of the Easter Sunday bombings.

Mohamed Aliyar, 60, is the founder of the Centre for Islamic Guidance (CIG), which boasts a mosque, a religious school and a library in Zahran’s hometown of Kattankudy, a Muslim-dominated city on the Sri Lanka’s eastern shores, Reuters reported.

(With inputs from PTI, Reuters)

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