Chathura Weerasekara, Head of Chancery, at an event in the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Dubai and Northern Emirates. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: The Sri Lankan community in Dubai and the Northern Emirates gathered on Sunday evening to express their solidarity and denounce the violence that ripped some pockets of their country last week.

The Sri Lankan government declared a 10-day state of emergency last week as property, including mosques and some 200 Muslim-owned businesses, were destroyed in riots in the district of Kandy. Three people have died and around 20 have been wounded in the clashes.

In Dubai, the Consulate-General of Sri Lanka is holding a community gathering to express their solidarity and express their disapproval of the recent events gripping their country.

Consul-General Charitha Yattogoda stressed that the violence that occurred in Kandy was in no way religious or racial in nature.

“The incident that happened in Sri Lanka is not a community against another community but just the acts of a group of extremists — which is unacceptable. But the government has taken action and the situation is [somehow] back to normal,” he told Gulf News.

All the four main religions in Sri Lanka — Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and Christians — will be represented in the gathering by their leaders in Dubai.

Sri Lanka’s 21 million people is composed of 70 per cent Buddhists, 13 per cent Hindus, 9 per cent Muslims, 8 per cent Christians and other religions.

Around 100 community members came to the consulate to express their support on Sunday evening.

There are more than 200,000 Sri Lankan expatriates living in the UAE.

“The community in Dubai and the Northern Emirates is very united — all of them. We have all the major communities of Sri Lanka living here in full harmony. Our gathering in Dubai is to show that none of them — irrespective of their religion — approves of this type of violence. We don’t want this to continue under any circumstances.”