Colombo: As many as 24 persons were arrested on Tuesday (May 14) after mobs went on a rampage and attacked Muslim-owned shops in Colombo.

Parts of Sri Lanka were under indefinite curfew after a man was killed by majority Sinhalese mobs that set fire to Muslim-owned shops and vehicles. The mobs even vandalised mosques in an escalating backlash following the Easter terror attacks.

The government on Tuesday relaxed nationwide night curfew in all areas except the northwestern province where the Muslim man was killed by a mob on Monday (May 13).

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Sri Lanka Police imposed island-wide curfew on Monday as anti-Muslim violence broke out in the northwestern province spread to other areas in the country as well.

Homes and mosques were also vandalised by large groups of people armed with sticks and weapons. The government also reimposed a ban on social media following the violent clashes.

Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the military had been asked to quell the anti-Muslim riot and sought public cooperation. A 45-year-old Muslim man, who ran a timber store in Kurunegala district in the northwestern Province, died of stab injuries.

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Witnesses claimed that at least two busloads of people, aided by “local goons”, had carried out attacks on mosques, Muslim-owned shops and homes on Sunday night and Monday afternoon.

This happens to be the worst outbreak of violence since the April 21 Easter bombings. Similar attacks were reported in parts of nearby Gampaha and Puttalam districts.

Tensions have been running high in island nation since the Easter attacks by suicide bombers who struck churches and three luxury hotels. The Islamic State (ISIS) group claimed responsibility for the attacks, which were carried out by a local radicalised Muslim group.

However, authorities believe that a splinter group of the local extremist group National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) had carried out the attacks.