Daily Online Edition of The Sunday Times Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has been under a state of emergency since the suicide bombings in April that killed more than 250 people

The 45-year-old man died shortly after admission to a hospital in Puttalam district during anti-Muslim rioting which began Sunday in the area, a police official told AFP. The Muslims, huddled in the mosque, asked the police to fire in the air to disperse the mob, but the police said the people wanted to inspect the mosque for weapons. "This is the first death from the riots".

Meanwhile, police curfew is now imposed within Chilaw city limits and is set to be lifted at 4 am tomorrow.

"Police and security forces have contained the situation, but these (unidentified) groups are still trying to create trouble".

Sri Lanka reimposed a ban on social media on Monday as religious tension flared up after an intimidating Facebook post triggered attacks on mosques and Muslim-owned businesses in the worst unrest since Easter Sunday bombings which killed almost 260 people.

"Later they pelted stones at three mosques and some Muslim-owned shops".

There was glass everywhere at the Abrar mosque in the Muslim-majority town of Kiniyama that was attacked overnight.

Official sources said the curfew was aimed at preventing a further escalation of violence, but police would not say why it had been extended across the country of 21 million people.

Acting police chief C.D. Wickramaratne said the violence started with a few shops being stoned in the North Western town of Kuliyapitiya on Sunday.

"Several shops have been attacked", a senior police officer told AFP.

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Previous blocks on social media and messaging apps imposed following the April 21 suicide attacks on churches and hotels were lifted after several days.

A Sri Lankan army soldier outside St Lucia cathedral as Catholic nuns attend a holy mass held to bless victims of Easter Sunday attacks in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Saturday.

Police have blamed two local Islamist groups for the Easter Sunday bombings.

The Muslim shopkeeper's comment was taken by local Christians as a warning of an impending attack.

Yesterday, security forces fired in the air to disperse mobs, but the violence spread to nearby towns where Muslim businesses were also attacked.

Last week, social media services were banned in Negombo following a traffic dispute between Muslims and Christians.

"We call upon the members of the Muslim communities to be more patient and guard your actions and avoid unnecessary postings or hosting on social media", the ACJU said.

After clashes in Negombo, Cardinal Ranjith appealed to Christians and other communities to show restraint.

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