Kattankudy, Sri Lanka: Under new regulations announced by President Maithripala Sirisena who used emergency powers in the wake of the Easter Sunday bombings, Muslim women in Sri Lanka will not be allowed to wear any form of face veils in public.
The ban took effect on Monday.
The new regulation banning any form of face covering was announced by the President on Sunday, a week after coordinated blasts hit three churches and three luxury hotels, killing over 250 people and injuring more than 500.
The order specifically mentions "any face garment which hinders identification".
"The ban is to ensure national security... No one should obscure their faces to make identification difficult," Mr Sirisena's office said in a statement.
The presidential communiqué makes no mention of niqab and burqa. But the ban, being touted as a security measure, criminalises a practice more associated with Islam. It also focuses public attention on women who practice their religious beliefs peacefully, while the government and foreign diplomats say ISIS-linked militants armed with explosives still roam the island.