Sri Lanka has declared a state of emergency for 10 days to rein in the spread of communal violence, a day after Buddhists and Muslims clashed in the Indian Ocean island's central district of Kandy.
Cricket Legends Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara have issued strong statement against the ongoing tension and have argued fellow citizens to be united.
"I strongly condemn the recent acts of violence & everyone involved must be brought to justice regardless of race/ religion or ethnicity. I grew up in a civil war which lasted 25 years and don’t want the next generation to go through that" wrote Mahela Jayawardene.
"No one in Sri Lanka can be marginalized or threatened or harmed due to their ethnicity or religion. We are One Country and One people. Love, trust and acceptance should be our common mantra. No place for racism and violence. STOP. Stand together and stand strong" wrote Kumar Sangakkara.
Tension has been growing between the two communities in Sri Lanka over the past year, with some hardline Buddhist groups accusing Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam and vandalising Buddhist archaeological sites.
The government sent troops and elite police to Kandy after a mob set fire to a Muslim-owned shop, imposing a curfew there on Monday to prevent clashes between majority Sinhalese Buddhists and minority Muslims.