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Calm urged in Sri Lanka-linked trouble in Australia

Leaders of Australia's Sri Lankan community called for calm Monday after two attacks on migrants from the island nation that may be linked to the apparent end of its ethnically driven civil war.

world Updated: May 18, 2009 13:21 IST

Leaders of Australia's Sri Lankan community called for calm Monday after two attacks on migrants from the island nation that may be linked to the apparent end of its ethnically driven civil war.

Acid was thrown into the faces of Two Sri Lankan students, and one was stabbed when five attackers raided the house where they were staying in a Sydney suburb late Sunday, police and officials said. The raid came several hours after a brawl in the same suburb between ethnic Tamils and Sri Lankan government supporters that left one man hospitalized with cuts and bruises. Police said five people were arrested.

Sri Lankan consul general Gothami Indikadahena visited the house where the acid attack occurred on Monday and afterward appealed to the Sri Lankan community not to let the attack spur more violence. "We want to contain these incidents because we are a united country," she told reporters.

Tamil community spokeswoman Sam Pari said leaders began sending messages calling for calm soon after Sunday's fight. "As this happened people went on the community radio stations ... SMS, e-mails being sent around, saying don't be provoked," Pari told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

A senior leader of the Tamil Tigers rebel group on Sunday conceded defeat in its quarter-century war to secure an ethnic homeland in Sri Lanka, setting off victory celebrations in the capital.

About 80,000 ethnic Sri Lankans live in Australia.