Visuals from the blasts in Sri Lanka on Apr 21 (photo/Reuters)
Visuals from the blasts in Sri Lanka on Apr 21 (photo/Reuters)

Sri Lanka: 12-hr curfew announced, PM Modi extends 'heartfelt' condolences

ANI | Updated: Apr 21, 2019 16:56 IST

Colombo [Sri Lanka], Apr 21 (ANI): A 12-hour curfew period will come into force in Sri Lanka from 6 pm on Sunday until 6 am Monday morning, in the wake of the devastating blasts which have caused multiple casualties in the island nation, according to President's secretary, Udaya R. Seneviratne.
Eight explosions rattled various suburbs in the Sri Lankan cities of Colombo, Negombo, Kochchikade and Batticaloa as the Christian community celebrated Easter Sunday on April 21. Over 150 people have lost their lives until now, as more than 560 people have been injured. Out of the deceased, around 20 people have been identified as foreigners, reported CNN.
Extending his "heartfelt condolences," Prime Minister Narendra Modi held telephonic conversations with the President and the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.
"Prime Minister Shri Modi condemned in the strongest terms the serial terrorist attacks, perpetrated at sites including religious places and during a religious festival. Terming them as cold-blooded and pre-planned barbaric acts, he pointed out that these attacks were another grim reminder of the most serious challenge posed to the entire humanity by terrorism in our region and the entire world," an official release by the Prime Minister's Office outlined.
"The Prime Minister renewed the offer of all possible help and assistance to Sri Lanka for ensuring its security against the challenges such as those posed by terrorism. He also wished the injured speedy recovery and offered any required assistance for their treatment," the statement added.
The international community has also condemned the multiple blasts, with leaders from the United Kingdom, Nepal, European Union expressing their grief due to the bombings.
"It was with horror and sadness that I heard of the bombings in #SriLanka costing the lives of so many people. I offer my heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims who had gathered to worship peacefully or come to visit this beautiful country. We stand ready to support," Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted on Sunday.
The blasts hit a string of high-end hotels and churches on Sunday, as the Christian community marked the occasion of Easter Sunday. Before commencing the Easter Mass, the Archbishop of Paris, Michel Aupetit, brought attention to the gruesome incident.
"We’re thinking of our brothers in Sri Lanka, who were slaughtered this morning," he said.
Schools across Sri Lanka have been ordered shut until Wednesday, citing security concerns, in the midst of the devastating attacks.
Rising to the occasion, several Sri Lankans have come forward to donate their blood at the National Blood Bank to help the victims of the blasts.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks yet.
The External Affairs Ministry has asked Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka to keep a "close watch" on the situation. To assist people in need, the High Commissioner has floated helpline numbers for Indian citizens in need of assistance and for seeking clarification.
The numbers are: +94777903082, +94112422788, +94112422789, +94777902082 and +94772234176 (ANI)