Sri Lanka's face veil ban takes effect under new regulation
Muslim women in Sri Lanka won't be allowed to wear any form of face veils in public starting today under new regulations announced by President Maithripala Sirisena who used emergency powers in the wake of the Easter Sunday bombings. The regulation banning any form of face covering was announced yesterday, a week after the coordinated blasts killed over 250 people in the island nation.
"The ban is to ensure national-security... No one should obscure their faces to make identification difficult," said Sirisena's office. On April 21, coordinated blasts hit three churches and three luxury hotels in Sri Lanka, killing over 250 people and injuring more than 500 others.
Sirisena took steps under the emergency regulation to prohibit the use of face coverings of all sorts, which are an obstacle to ensure the identity of the people and a threat to national and public security, 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.
The President has taken this decision to establish a peaceful and cohesive society which does not cause inconvenience to any community people as well as ensure national security, said the report by Colombo Page. In Sri Lanka, Muslims account for 10% of the population and are the second-largest minority after Hindus. Around 7% of Sri Lankans are Christians.
Nine suicide bombers carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through three churches and three luxury hotels on the Easter Sunday, killing 253 people. The Islamic State claimed the attacks, but the government has blamed local Islamist extremist group National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ) for the attacks. Following this, Sri Lanka Saturday banned the NTJ and a splinter group linked to the ISIS.
Total 106 suspects, including a Tamil medium teacher and a school principal, have been arrested in connection with the blasts. According to Lanka's Foreign Ministry, the number of foreign nationals who have been identified as killed remained at 40, including 11 from India. Lanka has a population of 21 million, which is a patchwork of ethnicities and religions, dominated by the Sinhalese Buddhist majority.