Muslims of the Sufi faith launched a hunger strike on Tuesday demanding that the Government intervene to control violence in the eastern town of Kattankudy.
Curfew has been imposed at Kattankudy in Batticaloa after a second day of clashes between two Muslim sects within two days.
A reconciliatory meeting called by the police to bring the factions to peace failed due to non attendance by the Sufis.
H M Amir, Secretary of the Baduria Jumma mosque, which advocates the Sufi doctrine told BBC that their leadership did not attend the meeting due to security risks.
Speaking to BBC Sandeshaya, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police for the Eastern province Neville Wijesinghe said that a grenade has been thrown into a mosque Monday night while followers of the mainstream Muslim faith were praying after Ramadan fast.
Sufism is the esoteric dimension of the Islamic faith, the spiritual path to mystical union with God. A reaction against the strict formality of orthodox teaching, it reached its peak in the 13th century. There are many Sufi orders, the best known being the dervishes of Turkey
The Oxford Dictionary of English
At least 10 people have sustained minor injuries and several buildings were damaged, he said.
Then a mob of thousands have gathered to attack the mosques and houses belonging to the Sufis. Three police officers also sustained injuries in these attacks, DIG Wijesinghe said.
Dr. I L M Rifas of the mainstream Muslims’ Jamiyathul Ulama told BBC Sandeshaya that people were disturbed after the grenade attack.
Police will consider removing curfew imposed Tuesday after studying the situation on Wednesday morning, the eastern province DIG said.
DIG Wijesinghe said that the curfew is to be continued overnight as a precaution since both factions live in a tight knit Muslim community in Kattankudy.
Nearly 75,000 Muslims Live in the area, he said.
Police earlier imposed a curfew in Kattankudy on Sunday, after institutions under the patronage of the All Ceylon Islamic Spiritual Movement (ACISM) came under attack.
Talking to Sandeshaya from Kattankudy, Secretary of the Baduria Jumma mosque H M Amir said that timely intervention by police saved the mosque, from been attacked.
He said that Muslim clerics opposed to the “mysterious teachings of spirituality” of Sufism instigated the attack.
“Several institutions including a ‘Mathrasa’ school teaching the Koran was also burnt,” said the secretary. He alleged that a mob of around a thousand was involved.
At least 5 youth have been injured and taken into hospital on Sunday.