Days After Sri Lanka Bombings, Country Bans People From Covering Faces To Conceal Identity
President Maithripala Sirisena’s office in Sri Lanka on Sunday, April 28, banned people from covering their faces to conceal their identity. In order to ensure public safety, covering of the face to avoid identification will be banned with effect from April 29, Monday. The decision was taken by Sirisena under the Emergency Regulations.
No more covering of the face
Following the cabinet proposing laws on face veils at a recent meeting, the emergency law was decided to be implemented. Even Muslim women cannot veil their faces any longer, however, the niqab and the burka were not named specifically. The President’s office said that to ensure national security, any garment hindering identification will be banned. However, the move is being perceived as targeting these garments.
Only under 10% of the 21 million people in the country happen to be Muslim. Very few women wear the the face-covering niqab or the burka — a one-piece veil covering the face and body. Last week, a ban on women wearing burka was proposed by a Sri Lankan MP, who said that on security grounds it should be outlawed, BBC News reported.
Information on the ban was conveyed via an official press release, which said, “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 further added.
This move came following a Sri Lankan parliamentarian submitted a private members’ motion for banning face covers, burkas and masks. Also, to help security forces, women were asked by an organisation of Muslim clerics called All Cetlon Jamiyyathul Ulama not to wear a niqab or a burka
The Sri Lanka bombings
A horrific terror attack shook Sri Lanka on Easter, killing 253 people. Across the country, no mass was held in any church on the first Sunday after Easter. Even after curfew in the country was lifted, barring areas in Kalmunai, Sammanthurai and Chavalakade, people prayed in their homes or near churches, The Times Of India reported.
Mohamed Ibrahim Ifran Ahmed, the elder brother of two suicide bombers was arrested by the Special Task Force (STF) in a raid which was carried out in Colombo’s Dematagoda. According to police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara, Ahmed was picked up from a house in Dematagoda’s Mahawila Scheme.
Suspected militants and ‘terror’ material were seized by teams of police and army troops, who conducted search operations across the country. Billionaire-spice trader Mohamed Ibrahim was taken into custody soon after the Easter Sunday bombings, after police found out that his two sons, Mohamed Ibrahim Insaf Ahmed and Mohamed Ibrahim Ilham Ahmed, were among the people who had carried out the deadly attacks, killing hundreds. At Cinnamon Grand Hotel and Shangri-La Hotel, they ended up blowing themselves up.
After a gun battle with terrorists, a woman and a child were rescued from Sahindamarudu in Ampara district in Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province. According to Gunasekara, they have been identified as the wife and child of Zahran Hashim, the mastermind of the bombings.
He further said that the two, Abdul Cader Fathima Sadiya and her four-year-old child Mohamed Zahran Ruzaina were injured in the shootout and are now being treated at the Ampara Base Hospital. They were identified as the mastermind’s wife and daughter by Zahran’s sister and brother-in-law.
In the exchange of fire in Sahindamarudu, as many as 15 people were killed, including six children, three women and six suicide bombers.
Meanwhile, over Rs 30 million (Sri Lankan rupee) and currencies were recovered by police from the house they raided in Dematagoda.
Six revolvers, a T56 weapon and a stock of ammunition were also recovered, buried in a plot of land, during a police search in Wanathavilluwa.