Sri Lanka suspends police chief over Easter attacks

Sri Lanka suspends police chief over Easter attacks

Sri Lanka's government has banned face coverings that hide people's identities in the wake of the Easter Sunday terror attacks. Sri Lankan authorities have arrested dozens of suspects and are searching for more militants with suspected links to ISIS.

The office of President Maithripala Sirisena said he was using an emergency law to impose the restriction from April 29.

"There could be another wave of attacks", the head of the police's ministerial security division said in a letter to politicians, senior police and security forces officials.

Sri Lanka remains on high alert eight days after Islamist attacks that hit churches and hotels.

Sri Lanka's main Islamic cleric association, ACJU, declared last week that the country's Sri Lankan Muslims will not accept the burial duties for the bodies of the bombers or allow them to be buried in a Mosque because those who "committed this barbaric attack on innocent civilians do not belong to us".

The president also banned the Islamic terrorist groups National Thawheed Jamath and Jamathei Millath Ibrahim, believing they are behind the attacks, though the Islamic State has claimed responsibility. In 2018, the president ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe because of an alleged assassination attempt before later reappointing him.

His predecessor at the ministry of defence and law and order, Hemasiri Fernando, stepped down on Thursday in the wake of the attacks, which were claimed by the Islamic State group. Another 15 people, including six children, died Friday in the country's Eastern province after soldiers raided a house in search of suspects, a military spokesman said.

The emergency law comes after a Sri Lankan MP proposed a ban on women wearing the burqa, arguing it should be forbidden on security grounds.

It also can focus public suspicion on women who practice their religious beliefs peacefully, while the government and foreign diplomats say IS-linked militants armed with explosives still roam the island. "If we are living in Sri Lanka, we must respect their rules".

Earlier, the Catholic church in Sri Lanka said the government should crack down on Islamists "as if on war footing" in the aftermath of the bombings. Sri Lanka's Muslim Council had reportedly warned the police of the potential danger posed by a small extremist group, National Tawheed Jamaath (NTJ), run by suicide bomber Zahran Hashim.

Report from BBC has it that the number of people arrested in connection with the killings rose to 150. More than 250 people were killed in the attacks.

Related Articles