Sri Lanka: Boiling Point

Simmering tensions erupt

In some places the city resembled a ghost town, in others a smoldering battlefield. Throughout Sri Lanka's palm-fringed, seaside capital, Colombo (pop. 586,000), shops were shuttered and restaurants were closed. Small groups of helmeted troops patrolled the empty streets, with instructions to shoot curfew violators on sight. But those tough measures may have come too late. During the previous five days, bands of Buddhist Sinhalese, 50 to 100 strong, had smashed, burned and plundered thousands of houses and shops belonging to predominantly Hindu Tamils. In Colombo's jail, 52 Tamils...

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