Colombo, May 13 : In wake of continued violence after the Easter bombings and to maintain peace in the country, Sri Lanka on Monday temporarily blocked some social networking sites like Facebook, Whatsapp and Viber.
The blockage will be in effect only for a short period of time, the Government Information Department said. According to the department, this measure is aimed at countering false propaganda that provoked unrest in several areas on Sunday.
Earlier, local media reported the escalation of the situation in the city of Chilaw. The tensions resulted from the reaction of residents to the post in social networks about the disunity between races. The police detained the author of the post, and imposed curfew in the city until 6am on Monday (00.30 GMT).
Defence Secretary, General (Rtd) Shantha Kottegoda has also urged the public to approach the security authorities immediately on any information related to a security threat without sharing it on social media. "Whether the information is false or correct we will investigate them. But if the public share such information on social media or by any other means it would only cause panic and unrest" Kottegoda told the media after calling on the Mahanayaka Thera’s of the Malwatte and Asgiriya Chapters in Kandy yesterday.
Kottegoda while referring to several incidents where the public had used social media to spread information related to security, including one posted by a Buddhist Monk recently speculating on possible violent acts in the near future by extremists said such news which are not based on any solid facts can only lead to disruption of public life.
The Defence Secretary assured the public that the armed forces and the police have taken adequate measures to ensure security and there was no reason to unduly fear or worry about an impending threat. He also noted that adequate security has been provided to Schools and added he believed the turnout of students will reach normal standards soon.The island nation has been on high alert since a nationwide string of deadly bombings occurred on April 21.
Over 250 people were killed and hundreds more were injured in the attacks. Dozens have been detained since the country launched a massive anti-terrorist operation and investigation into the attacks. The Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS) has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attacks. According to the government, about 130-140 IS members are currently active in the island state. However, according to the police, all suspected masterminds and perpetrators of explosions have been detained or killed. (UNI)