Sri Lankan Government Bans Burqa in Public Spaces, Calls The Face Veil Security Risk
Representational Image (Photo Credit: Flickr, Michał Huniewicz)

Mumbai, April 29: As the Sri Lankan authorities pursues various connections to those who carried out the horrific Easter bombings, the country’s president has ordered a complete ban on all face coverings including burqas in public spaces, calling them a “security risk”.

The ban was announced late Sunday evening, by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s office. "Any form of face covering that will hinder the identification of a person is banned under emergency regulations."

"A decision has been taken by the president to ban all forms of face covering that will hinder easy identification under emergency regulations," it added. "President Maithripala Sirisena took this decision to further support the ongoing security and help the armed forces to easily identify the identity of any wanted perpetrators," according to a press release from the president's office. The president’s office banned face veils, burqas and masks after a Sri Lankan parliamentarian submitted a private members' motion in the parliament.

At least one Sri Lankan hotel has also reportedly banned facial coverings after the attacks. The move has received tacit support from an organisation of Muslim clerics named All Cetlon Jamiyyathul Ulama. The organisation has asked women to avoid wearing a burqa/niqab in order to help security forces under the prevailing security conditions in the country.

The ban also corresponds with a series of raids in eastern parts of Sri Lanka that have un-covered links of local Muslim families to the Islamic State’s teachings. A raid on Sunday led to the father and two brothers of Sri Lanka terror attack mastermind being killed in the gun battle which erupted between the suspected terrorists and the Sri Lankan troops in Ampara.

Sri Lanka’s Easter Sunday bombings were one of the worst terror attacks in the country, which saw 253 dead and over 500 people injured. It marks the end of a decade of relative calm after the defeat of the LTTE.