Sri Lankan police on Monday imposed a nationwide night curfew after the worst outbreak of sectarian violence in three districts since the Easter suicide bombings. Officials have said the curfew was aimed at preventing a further escalation of violence. Last month, suicide bombers targeted churches and hotels, most of them in Colombo, killed more than 250 people. The attack claimed by Islamic State fuelling fears of a backlash against the island nation’s minority Muslims.

Several Muslims districts in the country have reported mob attacks on mosques. There have been reports of business loss worth crores after mobs damaged shops owned by Muslims and business outlets in the areas.

Spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said police has imposed a nationwide curfew from 9 p.m to 4 a.m in the country. They have also imposed a temporary ban on social media networks and messaging apps including WhatsApp after a clash in another part of the country was traced to a dispute on Facebook.

Sri Lanka has been under a state of emergency since the suicide bombings. Security forces and police have been given sweeping powers to arrest and detain suspects for long periods.

Muslims account for 10 percent of the population and are the second-largest minority after Hindus. Around seven percent of Sri Lankans are Christians. 

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