A week after the deadly bombings in Sri Lanka claimed by an ISIS affiliated group, President Maithripala Sirisena has announced a ban on covering the face that would make identification difficult.
In a statement, the Lankan President said, “The ban is to ensure national security… No one should obscure their faces to make identification difficult.” The ban will be effective from Monday.
The President, in his official statement, said he was using his emergency powers to ban any form of covering of the face in public.
The move came days after local Muslim clerics urged their women not to cover their faces amid escalating fears of a backlash after the blasts.
In the aftermath of the Sri Lanka bombings, Muslim refugees have fled from the coastal city of Negombo where communal tensions have flared in recent days.
On Wednesday, hundreds of Pakistani Muslims fled the multi-ethnic port an hour north of the capital, Colombo. Crammed into buses organised by community leaders and police, they left fearing for their safety after threats of revenge from locals, reported the Reuters.
Recently, The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the bombings.
The video, purportedly from Al Ghuraba Media, which is not an official IS channel but is believed to be run by supporters of IS, featured the chilling message, “This bloody day is our reward to you.”
Earlier, the Deputy Defence Minister of Sri Lanka had said that the attacks were carried out ‘in retaliation of Christchurch’.
“The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka (on Sunday) was in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch,” Wijewardene told parliament.
50 people were killed in New Zealand’s Christchurch in a attack on two mosques recently.
Meanwhile, the death toll in Sri Lanka has risen to 310 and more than 40 people have been arrested. on April 22, Sri Lanka’s Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the bombings were carried out by a local group identified as the National Thowheed Jamaath, without elaborating on evidence.