Sri Lanka on Friday began rebuilding the properties damaged during the deadly riots targeting businesses of a minority community in a popular tourist region in the country’s southwest that left four people dead.
“The work to rebuild over 200 properties began this morning”, D.L. Jayalal, government administrative official at Beruwala, said.
The ethnic clashes earlier this month in Muslim-dominated areas of Beruwala, Dharga Town and Aluthgama on the Sinhala-dominated south-western coast began during a rally by majority nationalist group Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) or the Forces of Buddhist Power in protest against a road rage incident.
Four people were killed, nearly 100 wounded and several homes and business torched during the violence, forcing authorities to impose curfew for days.
Resettlement Minister Gunaratne Weerakoon said the government has allocated Rs 200 million for repairs of the damaged buildings in Aluthgama and Dharga Town areas, the Daily Mirror reported.
Several properties belonging to the majority Sinhalese had also been damaged. The clashes drew international censure.
The BBS over the last two years have been running a counter campaign against what they have termed an extremist campaign by the Muslim community. They accuse minorities of enjoying undue political and economic influence.
>President Mahinda Rajapaksa , who visited the riot-hit areas, ordered Sri Lankan troops to rebuild the towns.
“Why we have given it to military is because no one else would be able to finish rebuilding by meeting the month’s deadline to finish the work,” Rajitha Senaratne, local MP and the Minister of Fisheries said.
Sri Lanka has accused vested international elements of fanning communal hatred in order to destabilise the country.
Authorities have come under fire for alleged inaction during the riots from opposition and groups representing Muslims, who constitute about 10 per cent of Sri Lanka’s 20 million population.