Sri Lanka bans burqa after carnage

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International desk, April 29: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday announced a ban on burqa, or face covering, a week after militants carried out coordinated suicide bombings that killed 253 people.Sirisena said he was using emergency powers to ban any form of face covering in public. The restriction will take effect from today, his office said in a statement.

“The ban is to ensure national security…No one should obscure their faces to make identification difficult,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s churches remained shut on Sunday forcing Christians to say prayers of grief in private. Fearing a repeat of the Easter bombings of churches and hotels, the archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, held a private mass after cancelling all public services.

Amid heavy security imposed across the country, a vigil was also held outside St Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo at 8.45am, the moment the bomber struck the church.

“Today during this mass we are paying attention to last Sunday’s tragedy and we try to understand it,” the cardinal said at his official residence, where President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe were among the small congregation.

Source: News Agencies