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AirAsia vigilant in Oz as violence rages in Sri Lanka

March 8, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Sri Lanka, a steadily growing tourist destination from Australia, has declared a state of emergency and deployed troops after rampaging mobs burned Muslim businesses, shops and mosques around the city of Kandy.

The communal violence follows the death of a Buddhist man, reportedly beaten by Muslim men a week ago, triggering reprisals by from the country’s Buddhist Sinhala majority.

AirAsia yesterday said it was aware of the current state of emergency and was actively monitoring the situation.

“At present, AirAsia flights to Sri Lanka are operating as per scheduled,” AirAsia spokesman Kris Taute said.

“AirAsia will continue to observe the situation and keep guests informed on the latest updates.” He advised Australians due to travel to Sri Lanka, or who are visiting the country, to register and continue to monitor advice issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade at www.smartraveller.gov.au .

Sri Lankan troops guard burned-out premises

Muslims make up 10% of Sri Lanka’s population of 21 million.

President Maithiripala Sirisena issued the 10-day emergency decree on Tuesday and imposed a curfew in Kandy but the communal violence has continued.

“The police and armed forces have been suitably empowered to deal with criminal elements in the society and urgently restore normalcy,” Sirisena said.

It is Sri Lanka’s first emergency decree since 2011, when the country’s ferocious civil war with Tamil separatists ended in Government victory.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has advised: “On 6 March 2018, the Sri Lankan Government declared a nationwide State of Emergency for 10 days due to incidents of communal unrest.

“Avoid protests and large public gatherings as they have the potential to turn violent. Monitor local media and follow instructions issued by local authorities. The level of our advice has not changed. Exercise normal safety precautions in Sri Lanka.”

Written by Peter Needham

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