By Norman Palihawadana
The slow reaction by Chilaw police to disperse a crowd that had gathered near a Thowheed Jamath prayer centre in Wattakkuliya, Chilaw resulted in unrest and property damage yesterday.
Earlier a group of youth had informed the Chilaw Police that some persons were inside the prayer centre that had been abandoned some time back.
Since the police did not arrive there to investigate the complaint, the crowd had attacked the prayer centre, damaging it, an eyewitness said.
It was then that the police had arrived and dispersed the crowds. The army was called in to assist the police.
A Muslim youth had been arrested for allegedly putting a Facebook post claiming that violence would break out soon. Some angry youth had also attempted to identify that person. The Army that had arrived had fired shots in the air and dispersed the crowds. Three persons were arrested for unruly behaviour. Police curfew was declared in the area till 6 am today.
“The situation is under control but we have imposed a curfew just in case and we request all citizens to be calm as we have ensured the safety of everyone,” Police Media Spokesperson, SSP Ruwan Gunasekera said.
Bars in the area were closed. Earlier Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith had asked the government to close down bars in trouble spots.