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Islamic preacher held in Sri Lanka for inciting extremism

A 47-year-old preacher has been arrested at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in the Sri Lankan capital on charges of using social media platform to air extremist views, the police said.

The preacher, a resident of Vavuniya, was arrested at the airport on Saturday by the Criminal Investigation Department on his arrival from Mecca after performing Haj.

According to the police, the preacher had been organising pilgrimage tours to Mecca. He was remanded till May 14 after being produced in the Negombo Magistrate's Court, the Daily Mirror reported.

Sri Lankan authorities had temporarily banned all forms of social media after the Easter Sunday bombings because it was being used to circulate fake news and create enmity between communities.

The April 21 killings at three luxury hotels, three churches and two other locations claimed over 250 lives and were blamed on local Islamist group National Thowheed Jamath, which is believed to have links with the Islamic State (IS).

The IS claimed the killings which also injured hundreds.

--IANS

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