One week after the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka that killed over 250 people, the government has banned all face coverings including burqas and niqabs.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena announced on Sunday that the ban will go into effect the following day.
“Any form of face covering that will hinder the identification of a person is banned under emergency regulations,” the announcement from President Sirisena’s office said.
The ban comes as an investigation into the attacks found that a large number of women were involved, though Sri Lanka’s Justice Ministry had already been considering the ban.
The Sri Lankan military has also announced that at least 15 people were killed during a fierce gun battle with militants on the east coast on Friday, including six children.
“If Sri Lanka adopts the burqa ban, it would join the group of nations in Asia, Africa, and Europe that have done so in the interest of preventing terrorists from using the burqa to evade police or hide explosives,” India Today reports, “Among the nations that have enacted a ban on the item are Chad, Cameroon, Gabon, Morocco, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Belgium, and Xinjiang, a Muslim-majority province in northwestern China.”
Sri Lanka has a population of about 21 million and approximately 10% are Muslim, according to a report from One India.