10:10 AM, March 18, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:26 AM, March 18, 2018

Sri Lanka lifts nationwide state of emergency

Sri Lanka's Special Task Force soldiers walk past a damaged houses after a clash between two communities in Digana central district of Kandy, Sri Lanka March 8, 2018. Photo: Reuters

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena today said he had lifted a nationwide state of emergency imposed on March 6 after Buddhist-Muslim clashes.

"Upon assessing the public safety situation, I instructed to revoke the State of Emergency from midnight yesterday," Sirisena said on his Twitter feed.

He declared a state of emergency to rein in the spread of communal violence after Buddhists and Muslims clashed in the Indian Ocean island's central district of Kandy.

Two people were killed and hundreds of Muslim-owned properties and more than 20 mosques were damaged, media reported.

Tension has been growing between the two communities over the past year, with some hardline Buddhist groups accusing Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam and vandalising Buddhist archaeological sites.

Some Buddhist nationalists have also protested against the presence in Sri Lanka of Muslim Rohingya asylum-seekers from mostly Buddhist Myanmar, where Buddhist nationalism has also been on the rise.