Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena announces ban on face-covering

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has issued an order for a ban on burqa, veil or covering of the face in a manner which prevents anyone from being identified. The order coming into effect today said any garment or item which obstructs the identification of a persons face would be barred. 

It follows last Sunday attacks in which more than 250 people were killed. Some Muslim organisations had also come forward and suggested a ban on burqa to help stabilize the security situation.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has urged parliament to speed up the enaction of law against terrorist activities. He said in a statement that Sri Lanka’s existing anti-terrorism laws were enacted in 1979 to combat domestic activities and a new bill was presented to parliament in 2018, but a committee in charge was still sitting on it. 

He said in a statement that the third article of the bill prevents any individual or group that threatens or acts against the laws of a foreign government or its operations. Sri Lankan prime minister had earlier accepted that some of the fundamentalists could not be arrested for their links with ISIS because there is no law to such effect in the country. Among other development, security surveillance continues all over the country and several people including two key suspects were arrested yesterday.

The Hindu

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