The Government has not taken a decision to ban the wearing of the burqa and niqab as of yet, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated issuing a statement today (March 16).
The Ministry pointed out that the recent media reports have highlighted statements made in regard to a proposal to ban the wearing of the burqa and niqab in Sri Lanka.
Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage has said that a decision has not been taken by the Government to impose such a ban and it is merely a proposal, which is under discussion.
This proposal has been based on the precautionary measures that are needed on national security grounds, following the investigations of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) on Easter Sunday attacks, the statement read.
It further stated that the Government will initiate a broader dialogue with all parties concerned and sufficient time will be taken for necessary consultations to be held and for consensus to be reached.
Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, making a similar statement today at the press conference held to announce the Cabinet decisions, said the final decision regarding the ban will not be made in haste.
However, Minister of Public Security Rear Admiral (Retd) Sarath Weerasekara on Saturday (March 13) stated that he signed the Cabinet paper ordering the ban of the burqa and niqab in Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Saad Khattak yesterday (March 15) tweeted his disappointment over the ‘likely-ban on the Niqab’ in Sri Lanka claiming that ‘it will only serve as injury to the feelings of ordinary Sri Lankan Muslims and Muslims across the globe’.
In reply, former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen appreciated the ambassador’s tweet regarding the ‘grievance of the Muslim community’ in Sri Lanka.