Sri Lanka, still reeling from the impact of the deadly Easter Sunday explosions, has banned women from wearing face veils. President Maithripala Sirisena implemented the ban under an emergency law. The ban went into effect Monday.
Officials said the move will help security forces with the identification process as the country continues to search for people responsible for the Easter Sunday explosions that targeted churches and hotels.
Reuters reports that the top body of Islamic scholars supports the measure on a short-term basis because of security concerns, but opposes legislation against burqas.
In another development, Sri Lankan local media report that police have identified the woman and the girl who were pulled Saturday from rubble of a shootout between security forces and militants that killed fifteen people, including six children.
Officials say the pair are the wife and daughter of Zahran Hashim, the suspected mastermind behind the deadly Easter Sunday attacks on churches and luxury hotels that killed more than 250 people.
The Daily Mirror newspaper says Hashim’s sister and brother-in-law identified the pair. Sunday Sri Lankan police entered the headquarters of the terrorist group believed to be behind the deadly Easter Sunday attacks.
A day after Colombo declared National Towheed Jamaath (NTJ) a terror group, armed police in the town of Kattankudy in eastern Sri Lanka entered the organization’s main mosque.
On Saturday, President Maithripala Sirisena formally outlawed two Islamist extremist groups suspected of carrying out the Easter attacks. Sirisena used his emergency powers to ban NTJ and another group, Jamathei Millathu Ibrahim (JMI).
Security officials said the NTJ was believed to have been the main group behind the Easter attacks. Officials said they were prohibited by law from banning the little known groups earlier due to the lack of firm evidence against them.
Catholic churches in Sri Lanka were shuttered Sunday in the aftermath of the attack. The faithful, however, were able to watch a televised broadcast of a Mass.