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Sri Lanka declares state of emergency after Buddhist-Muslim clashes in Kandy

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COLOMBO — Sri Lanka has declared a nationwide state of emergency on Tuesday after anti-Muslim riots left two people dead and more than 100 homes and shops ablaze in the popular hill resort of Kandy, a central district famed for its tea plantations and Buddhist relics.

Sri Lanka’s President has declared a state of emergency for 10 days to rein in the spread of communal violence after clashes erupted between majority Buddhists and members of the minority Muslim community.

Tension has been growing between the two communities in Sri Lanka over the past year, with some hardline Buddhist groups accusing Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam and vandalising Buddhist archaeological sites.

A tweet from the office of President Maithripala Sirisena said the decree would “redress the unsatisfactory security situation prevailing in certain parts of the country”.

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It said the country’s security forces “have been suitably empowered to deal with criminal elements in the society and urgently restore normalcy.”

Armed forces were deployed to bolster security in addition to a unit of elite police commandos who were sent in to restore order after rioters defied an overnight curfew and went on the rampage.

The unrest in the Indian Ocean island’s central district of Kandy began on Sunday after the funeral of a truck driver from the majority Sinhalese Buddhist community, who died days after he was involved in an altercation with four Muslims, the Government said.

Buddhist mobs swept through towns, burning at least 11 Muslim-owned shops and homes. Police fired tear gas into the crowds, and later announced a curfew.

These areas remained under curfew on Tuesday, with soldiers and police patrolling the streets and no-one allowed outside.

Reuters/AFP

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7 killed after Delhi-Bound train derails in Bihar

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NEW DELHI — At least seven people have died and 14 others injured after a Delhi-bound train derailed early Sunday morning in Bihar’s Vaishali district.

Eleven coaches of 12487 Seemanchal Express derailed near Sahadai Buzurg at around 3:52 am. Three of the coaches overturned and the high force of the impact destroyed them completely.

The injured are being transported to local hospitals.

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The superfast train from Jogbani in Bihar to Delhi’s Anand Vihar Terminal was running at full speed when the accident took place, officials said.

Bodies are believed to be trapped inside one of the affected coaches and the number of dead is likely to rise, local police official said.

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