Sri Lanka emergency law bans face coverings

Sri Lanka emergency law bans face coverings

The move follows recent cabinet discussions on face coverings.

An MP called for the ban last week, citing the religious garment's use by terrorists to escape authorities by concealing their identities.

It will mean Muslim women in the country will only be able to wear the hijab and the chador.

Sri Lanka's Catholics are observing Mass from the confines of safe places while a televised broadcast plays on their television sets.

According to reports, the release said that any form of face cover "that will hinder the identification of a person is banned under emergency regulations".

The heightened tensions have put Sri Lankans on edge.


It had deferred the matter until talks with Islamic clerics could be held, on the advice of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The Easter Sunday bombings shattered the relative calm that had existed in Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka since the civil war against mostly Hindu ethnic Tamil separatists ended.

The shootout between troops and suspected Islamist militants erupted on Friday evening in Sainthamaruthu in Ampara, to the south of the town of Batticaloa, site of one of the Easter Sunday blasts at three churches and four luxury hotels.

Dozens of suspects have been arrested, but local officials warned that more militants remained at large.

Last week a Sri Lankan MP had proposed a ban on women wearing the burqa, saying it should be outlawed on security grounds.

Wickremesinghe on Friday said the country needs new laws to deal with threats posed by local terror outfits linked to ISIS, the group which has claimed responsibility for the Easter bombings that left 253 people dead and several hundreds injured.


"This is a time questions such as, 'Does God truly love us?' 'Does he have compassion toward us?' Can arise in human hearts".

A young boy cries during a funeral for a family member killed in the Easter Sunday attack on St Sebastian's Church, on April 25, 2019 in Negombo, Sri Lanka.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks and Sri Lankan police are searching for 140 suspects thought to have links with the terror group.

More than 100 people, including foreigners from Syria and Egypt, have been detained for questioning for questioning over the Easter attacks.

Police said three other suspected suicide bombers were shot dead by security forces outside the hideout that had been under siege for more than an hour. Those arrested include two men whom authorities recently appealed to the public to locate.

After the raid, the Sri Lankan government announced that anyone found guilty of spreading fake information would be imprisoned for up to three to five years.


The government on Saturday formally banned two extremist groups purportedly connected to the attacks, allowing officials to confiscate their property.

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