Representatives of the Sri Lankan government have introduced measures to ban burqas amidst reports that a large number of women were involved in the horrific Easter Sunday suicide bombings that killed at least 359 people and wounded almost 500 others.
According to government sources who spoke with the Mirror, a number of female accomplices of the bombers are believed to have escaped by concealing their identities with the garment. A member of Sri Lanka’s ruling United National Party, MP Ashu Marasinghe, introduced a private motion in Parliament to ban the burqa on Tuesday, arguing that the move was in the best interest of “national security.”
On Sunday, bombings believed to have been carried out by a small jihadist group known as the National Thowheed Jamath struck three churches and three luxury hotels. Sixty suspects have been arrested in connection with the terrorist attacks, including the driver of a van that was allegedly used to transport the suicide bombers.
On Wednesday, President Maithripala Sirisena called for his two top security officials — National Police Chief Pujith Jayasundara and Defense Secretary Hemasiri Fernando — to resign after reports that intelligence officers had warned them of possible attacks on churches by the jihadist group. Authorities say that nine suicide bombers were involved in the attack, including at least one woman. The Islamic State has also claimed credit for the attacks, but Sri Lankan authorities say that what role, if any, that group had in the bombings remains unclear.