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Sri Lanka mulls ban on Burqa, special report on security says police should have right to ask that Burqa be removed to establish identity

Another proposal in the report said that all students studying in madrasas should be absorbed into the normal school system under the Ministry of Education within three years.

In order to curb the menace radical Islamic terrorism, a parliamentary committee of Sri Lanka on national security has proposed an immediate ban on the burqa and suspending the registration of political parties which are formed on an ethnic and religious basis, following the Easter Sunday terror attack that killed over 250 people, reports The Hindu.

The proposals to ban controversial Islamic attire – Burqa was featured in a special report presented to Parliament on Thursday in an attempt to resolve 14 controversial issues following the April 2019 Easter Attack. The report was tabled by MP Malith Jayatilaka, the Chairman of the Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security.

The report further mentioned that a number of countries have already banned the burqa. It also proposed that the police should have the powers to ask anyone with face covering to take off such clothing to establish the identity of the person.

Read: Indian High commission was a potential target in Easter Sunday attack: Sri Lankan Parliament committee report

If such a request was not complied with, the police should have the power to arrest the individual without a warrant, the report added.

It also recommended the island nation’s Election Commission to enact legislation to suspend the registration of political parties on an ethnic and religious basis. The Sri Lankan parliamentary committee recommended that if a political party has “some racial or religious conflict” then it be converted to non-religious party within a stipulated period.

Read: 600 foreigners including 200 Islamic clerics expelled from Sri Lanka, visa restrictions on religious preachers tightened

Another proposal in the report said that all students studying in madrasas should be absorbed into the normal school system under the Ministry of Education within three years.

Of the country’s 21 million people, Muslims form around 10% constitutes Sri Lanka’s population. However, only a small percentage of Muslim women wear the niqab or burqa.

After the Easter Sunday bombings, the then President Maithripala Sirsena had evoked emergency powers to ban all forms of face-covering garments stating it
“hinders identification”.

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