Muslims ask for UN probe into Sri Lanka religious riots; President tours area

BERUWALA, June 18, 2014 (AFP) – The main Muslim party in Sri Lanka’s ruling coalition Wednesday demanded a UN probe into one of the country’s worst-ever religious riots, as President Mahinda Rajapakse toured the violence-hit resort region. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) said it was also boycotting parliament Wednesday as a protest against Colombo’s failure to rein in a hardline Buddhist group widely accused of sparking the clashes.

Justice Minister and SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem told reporters Rajapakse’s administration was at fault for letting the bloodshed escalate.

“We are convinced that the government did not do anything to prevent the violence against the Muslims,” said Hakeem, who is the most senior Muslim in Rajapakse’s cabinet.

Rajapakse, who was visiting Bolivia when the violence broke out, travelled to the resort region of Beruwala shortly after his return to the island and met local community leaders from both sides.

Hundreds of troops were deployed to help police after the extremist Buddhist Force, or BBS, marched in neighbouring Alutgama on Sunday, with clashes breaking out as it claimed its procession was stoned by Muslims.

At least four people were killed and nearly 80 seriously wounded, while doz