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Sri Lanka Bans Face Covering In Wake Of Easter Sunday Bombings

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A week after 253 people lost their lives in Easter bombings, Sri Lanka has placed an emergency ban on all sorts of face coverings, announced Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.

Sirisena said that he has used his emergency power to place the ban which will take effect from Monday (today). “The ban is to ensure national security. No one should obscure their faces to make identification difficult,” a statement from the Sri Lankan president said.

The ban comes days after local clerics urged Muslim women not to use face veil as they might face backlash after the bombings carried out by militants affiliated to the Islamic State group. Around 21 million Muslims live in Sri Lanka and only a small portion uses the veil.

The attack on April 21 saw 3 luxury hotels and 3 churches attacked by 7 suicide bombers, government sources said. Thus far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack but according to the New York Times, the government has set its focus on militant group National Thowheeth Jama’ath.

Rajitha Senaratne, the Sri Lankan health minister, blamed the group at a news conference in Colombo, the capital, adding: “There was an international network without which these attacks could not have succeeded.”

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday said that the country might seek the help of Pakistan to trace terrorists involved in the Easter Sunday blasts in which 250 odd people were killed.

“If necessary, we will seek their help to trace the terrorists and eliminate them. I see this tragic event as further strengthening the trust that exists between our countries and increasing cooperation,” the Sri Lankan premier said.

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