Sri Lanka has banned face coverings in public, following the attacks on Easter Sunday that killed at least 250 people and injured hundreds more.
President Maithruipala Sisirsena used an emergency law that allows him to impose the restriction from Monday.
Any face garment which “hinders identification” will not be allowed to make sure the nation is kept safe. The niqab and burka, worn by Muslim women – were not specifically named but it seems to be a generic law that will ban all of the mentioned.
Sri Lanka remains on high alert after Islamist attacks that hit churches and hotels on Easter Sunday just a few days ago. A number of suspects have been arrested, but local officials warned that others remained at large.
Sri Lanka has a small percentage of Muslim population just under 10%. Only a small number of women wear the face-covering niqab, or the burka.
Last week a Sri Lankan MP had proposed a ban on women wearing the burqa, saying it should be outlawed on security grounds.
Over the past days, thousands of Sri Lankan troops have been guarding and on alert on the streets, protecting churches and mosques alike.
Sunday church services were cancelled across the country to make sure no similar attacks happen in large and crouded gathering spaces, but many still gathered to pray outside St Anthony’s Shrine, which was badly damaged in the attacks.
The number of people arrested in connection with the attacks is around 150. Sri Lankan police are also searching for around 140 followers of the jihadist group Islamic State, which has said it was responsible for the bombings.