‘Mawanella was the start’: Sri Lankan town reels from bombing links

Faith leaders say local youths were radicalised by extremist preacher Mohammed Zahran Hashim It was crude stuff: young men armed with hammers, arriving on motorbikes in the middle of the night. At four sites in Mawanella, a central Sri Lankan town, they hacked at Buddhist statues, lopping off parts of their faces and hands. In the aftermath of the desecration on 26 December 2018, police and local politicians were more concerned with defusing the anger of the Buddhist community and preventing religious riots of the kind that had rocked killed 253 people on Sunday, Mawanella was the start. One of the statues damaged in Mawanella in December 2018. Photograph: Supplied Chanaka Jayaree, a caretaker at one of the Buddhist shrines, …