Colombo: Muslim women in Sri Lanka will not be allowed to wear any form of face veils in public from Monday under new regulations announced by President Maithripala Sirisena who used emergency powers in the wake of the Easter Sunday bombings.
The new regulation banning any form of face covering was announced Sunday by the President, a week after the coordinated blasts hit three churches and three luxury hotels, killing over 250 people and injuring more than 500 others.
“The ban is to ensure national security… No one should obscure their faces to make identification difficult,” Sirisena’s office said in a statement.
Sirisena took steps under the emergency regulation to prohibit the use of face coverings of all sorts which is an obstacle to ensure the identity of the people and a threat to national and public security, the ‘Colombo Page’ reported. The order clarifies that the key criterion for establishing the identity of a person is the need to clearly expose the face, the report said.
Muslims account for 10 per cent of the population and are the second-largest minority after Hindus. Around seven per cent of Sri Lankans are Christians.
The Islamic State claimed the attacks, but the government has blamed local Islamist extremist group National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ) for the devastation. Sri Lanka Saturday banned Saturday the NTJ and a splinter group linked to the ISIS.
A total of 106 suspects, including a Tamil medium teacher and a school principal, have been arrested in connection with the Easter Sunday blasts.