The Sri Lankan government has changed the tone of the Rajapaksa government over the burqa ban in Sri Lanka following the threat from Pakistan.
The tone of the Rajapaksa government on Sri Lanka’s burqa ban changed after the threat from Pakistan. The Sri Lankan government will not rush into the process of banning the burqa and a decision will only be made after consensus is reached on the matter. A Sri Lankan cabinet spokesperson made the statement on Tuesday. A day earlier on Monday, Pakistan’s high commissioner to Sri Lanka, Saad Khattak, criticized plans to ban the wearing of the burqa.
Khattak had said that such “divisive measures” in the name of security would not only hurt the feelings of Muslims, but also reinforce widespread apprehensions about the basic rights of minorities in the island nation. The Sri Lankan cabinet did not consider the issue of the niqab or burqa ban at its weekly meeting.
“ There is no rush in the face covering ban process ”
“This will only be done after deliberation and consensus,” Cabinet spokesman and senior minister Kehelia Rambukwela told reporters on Tuesday. He said the government would not be “in a rush to ban facial coverage.” The minister said the decision would be made on the basis of an intelligence assessment as part of the national security discussions.
Sri Lankan Minister of Public Security Sharat Veerasekara said over the weekend he had signed a cabinet document proposing a mask ban. This document was to be presented at the meeting on Monday. Virasekara had said the burqa posed a threat to national security. Wearing the burqa was temporarily banned after bombings of churches and hotels on Easter Sunday 2019 in Sri Lanka.
Muslims constitute about 9% of the population, 12% of ethnic Tamils.
More than 260 people have died in these attacks. Sri Lanka has a population of around 20 million, of which Muslims constitute around 9%, ethnic Tamils 12% and Buddhists over 70%. Christians make up about seven percent of the population. Most Tamils are Hindus.