Police are investigating whether ringleaders had out outside help, but as they do, Sri Lanka's Muslim community count the cost and fear more violence.
Sri Lanka's Kandy district had been rocked by communal clashes since Sunday, following attacks on members of the minority Muslim community by nationalist crowds from the Sinhalese majority. At least two people were killed.
Buddhist mobs sweep through Muslim neighbourhoods in the country's central hills, destroying stores and setting homes on fire despite a curfew and a state of emergency.
Police also ordered a curfew across much of central Sri Lanka for a third straight day, trying to calm the situation.
The Sri Lankan government has imposed a state of emergency after anti-Muslim riots have spread in parts of the country. Tensions have been brewing for months, so why has the government been slow to act?
President Maithripala Sirisena made the decision amid fears that anti-Muslim attacks in a central Sri Lankan hill town could spread.
Police had been placed on alert in the central hill station town following unrest that saw a man killed and Muslim businesses set alight.
The Maldivian president declared a 15-day state of emergency earlier this month, curtailing the powers of the judiciary and the legislature.
The party of former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse is on track for a shock landslide victory amid disarray in the ranks of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's ruling alliance.
The government of the South Asian nation is considering a proposal to change marriage law as there is no minimum age for Muslims to marry under the current law.
From Fiji to Malaysia, India and elsewhere in the world, the annual Thaipusam festival marks the day when the goddess Parvathi gave her son Lord Murugan a powerful lance to fight demons.
The announcement comes days after the International Monetary Fund approved the release of $251 million to Sri Lanka, the latest payment of a three-year loan.
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