Sri Lanka warns leaders not to travel together

Sri Lanka warns leaders not to travel together

A Sri Lankan soldier stands guard outside St Anthony's Shrine in Colombo. AFP file photo

Sri Lanka's intelligence agency has warned the country's top leadership not to travel together during the coming few weeks after information was received of possible terror attacks, a media report said on Wednesday.

President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa are among the leaders who have received the cautionary advice.

The move is part of the beefed up security arrangements in the island nation after a series of coordinated bomb blasts ripped off three churches and high-end hotels, killing 253 people and injuring 500 others.

The political leaders have also been asked to refrain from attending events, especially held in churches, temples and other religious places, the Daily Mirror reported.

They have been advised to use helicopters to commute to any place where their presence is unavoidable.

Meanwhile, Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka asked the Lankan government to deport 800 foreign Islamic clerics who were engaged in religious teaching at various madrasas across the country.

He said these clerics had arrived on tourist visas, but were engaged in Islamic religious teaching.

“I urge the government to deport them immediately,” the minister was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror.

Earlier, Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam had said that his ministry would take steps to regulate the madrasas in the country.

President Sirisena had on Monday banned Muslim women from any form of face veils in public using emergency powers in the wake of the Easter Sunday bombings.

The regulations specifically mentions "any face garment which hinders identification".

A total of 106 suspects, including a Tamil medium teacher and a school principal, have been arrested in connection with the Easter Sunday blasts.

The Islamic State claimed the attacks, but the government has blamed local Islamist extremist group National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ) for the attacks.

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