Central Sri Lanka was gripped by tension on Thursday as a fresh wave of anti-Muslim attacks swept through the Buddhist holy city of Kandy and the surrounding hillside.The attacks, led by the increasingly bold Sinhala-Buddhist mobs, have drawn comparisons with the start of the country’s decades-long civil war in 1983.A Buddhist man was killed in an explosion, authorities said, when a grenade he was carrying detonated prematurely.

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Their vehicles were set on fire and our family home, where all the Muslim families gathered when the mob started attacking, was destroyed,” he said.

The Central Province Deputy Inspector General of Police, Mahinda Ekanayake, denied claims that the police did not take action.

Under the Sri Lankan state of emergency law, which President Maithripala Sirisena imposed on Monday, the police and military have extensive powers to quell riots.

On Wednesday the police fired shots in the air and used teargas to dispel rioters in some parts of the hill country.

The government has restricted access to the internet and blocked all social media platforms, starting on Wednesday, after the president blamed social media for the escalating violence.

Schools have been closed indefinitely in the central district and police leave has been cancelled.

The annual report by the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) recorded gang rapes, kidnapping, acid attacks, amputations, burnings and said almost 800 women killed themselves or attempted suicide.

The report warned that despite a series of landmarks in 2015, which saw the first Pakistani female firefighter and rickshaw driver start work, exploitation and abuse remains rife with little judicial recourse.

Last week the eastern town of Ampara also saw a spate of anti-Muslim violence.

Tensions have been building in the 70 per cent Buddhist-majority country where Muslims make up only eight per cent of the population.

“But we don’t feel safe anymore, we feel very helpless.