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Easter bombings: Sri Lanka bans all types of face covers including burqa

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Colombo, Apr 29: Sri Lankan government on Sunday ordered a complete prohibition on face covers including burqa, a week after Islamist militants carried out coordinated suicide bombings that killed 253 people.

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Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena said he was using emergency powers to ban any form of face covering in public. The restriction will take effect from Monday, his office said in a statement.

An official statement from the President's office said: "Any form of face covering that will hinder the identification of a person is banned under emergency regulations."

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"A decision has been taken by the president to ban all forms of face covering that will hinder easy identification under emergency regulations," it added.

It came days after local Islamic clerics urged Muslim women not to cover their faces amid fears of a backlash after the bombings carried out by jihadists affiliated to the Islamic State group.

Muslims in the majority Buddhist nation account for about 10 per cent of its 21 million population.

Most Sri Lankan Muslims practise a liberal form of the religion and only a small number of women wear the niqab.

Earlier in the day, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe also said that he was not against the ban on burqa. A situation of emergency has been imposed on the island nation since the bombings that claimed over 250 lives, including some Indians.

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