Fire Probe

COLOMBO, June 21, 2014 (AFP) – Sri Lankan police were investigating a fire which Saturday destroyed a Muslim-owned clothing store in a district where religious tensions have been heightened after anti-Muslim riots killed four people and wounded 80. Authorities have not ruled out arson at the upmarket No-Limit store in Panadura, 25 kilometres (16 miles) south of Colombo, police spokesman Ajith Rohana said.

“We are looking at the possibility of arson as well as an accidental fire,” Rohana told AFP. “The fire started in the upper floor and we are still investigating.”

The blaze came a day after Sri Lanka’s Muslim minority shortened their Friday prayer services because of heightened religious tensions after clashes with hardline Buddhists earlier in the week in Kalutara district.

The district includes Panadura, and the popular and mainly Muslim coastal resorts of Alutgama and Beruwala, where religious riots earlier in the week killed four and wounded 80. Hundreds of homes and businesses were set on fire in the violence.

President Mahinda Rajapakse, who toured the riot-hit resort of Beruwala, said he was ordering a probe into “recent disturbances”.
“I will be appointing a high-level panel to inquire into recent disturbances,” the Pre