COLOMBO – The Sri Lankan government on Sunday took necessary measures to impose a complete ban on all types of burqas and face covers in the wake of the horrific terror bombings that rattled the entire country on Easter Sunday, claiming lives of more than 250 people and injuring hundreds.
Colombo Page quoted the Prime Minister’s Office as saying in a statement that Prime Minister Wickremesinghe has stated that since the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU), the organisation of Muslim clerics in Sri Lanka has proposed to ban the burqa, the Minister of Justice will discuss with the council and draft the necessary legislation.
The decision to ban burqas across the country came just days after a Sri Lankan parliamentarian MP Ashu Marasinghe had submitted a Private Member’s Motion to ban the burqa on security grounds post the Easter Sunday blasts.
Marasinghe, in his motion submitted to parliament, said the burka is not a part of traditional Muslim attire and is used to around the world by men to hide behind and carry out acts of terrorism, Colombo Page reported.
“Our Muslim leaders have also accepted that Burka is not a traditional Muslim attire and some places even have notices to remove the Burka before entering,” he said in his motion,” the motion said.
“Accordingly, considering the national security I propose to ban the burka,” he added.
Eight explosions rattled various churches and high-end hotels located across Sri Lankan cities of Colombo, Negombo, Kochchikede and Batticaloa as the Christian community celebrated Easter on April 21.
More than 500 people were injured in the serial blasts, claimed responsibility by the Islamic State. Out of the deceased, around 40 people have been identified as foreigners, including 11 Indians, three Danes, two each from China and Turkey and one each from the Netherlands and Portugal.
Foreign countries, including the United States, India and the United Kingdom have issued travel advisories for their people who intend to travel to Sri Lanka anytime soon. The advisories have cautioned people to stay away from crowded and religious places stating such places could have higher risks of “possible attacks”.
Quoting defence sources, The Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) had reported that the lone female perpetrator of the massacre had escaped from a Dematagoda apartment complex wearing burqas.
Officers were questioning a suspect in the building hours after the initial attacks when they set off a suicide bomb, killing three police officers. Three suspects were detained there.
Sri Lankan Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene last week said that two different local Islamist groups, including the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ), and the splinter group Jamathei Millathu Ibrahim (JMI), were to blame for the coordinated blasts. The two terror outfits are said to be affiliates of the Islamic States or Daesh.