Colombo: After the series of bombings on Sunday Easter, Sri Lanka has turned the heat on terrorists as well as fundamentalists in the country. Since 8 April when eight serial blasts in three churches and three major hotels on the eve of Easter, the island nation has so far expelled over 600 foreign nationals including 200 maulanas.
The home minister of Sri Lanka said that the expelled maulanas had come to the country legally, but after the attacks, it was found in the course of the investigation that they were living in the country even after their visa periods had lapsed. For this, they were first penalised and then expelled from the country.
Home Minister Vajira Abhayawardhana said, keeping in view the latest status of security in the country, the government reviewed the visa system and decided to tighten the rules for religious teachers. He said that 200 people who had been expelled were maulanas.
Not only this, the administration has appealed to the commoners to abandon the swords and knives kept in their homes in the wake of the heightened security measures the government is taking. The media department of Sri Lankan police on Saturday said that the people were given time to surrender the swords and knives at the nearby police stations by Sunday.
Sri Lanka Christians pray at home
For the second consecutive week in Sri Lanka, the Catholic community organised its Sunday meeting inside homes. Archbishop Colonel Malcolm Ranjit of Colombo organised a prayer meeting at his home, which was broadcast on TV. Most of the clerics and nuns participated in this religious event.
The letter addressed to the cardinal by Pope Francis was read out in the end. A prayer for children and the youth was organised on the spot of the attack on the Saint Anthony Shrine. However, most of the churches remained closed, with the Army and police personnel guarding these places of worship.
Schools to open on Monday after two weeks
Schools in Sri Lanka, closed in the aftermath of the intense terror attack, are opening on Monday after two weeks. The second session of all government schools will start on Monday. The second session for the students of the 1st to 5th grades will start 13 May.
However, Nalaka Kaluwewa, director general of information, only the classes of the 6th grade onwards will run as of now. Minister Akila Viraj Kariyavasam said that, with the start of the new school session, a special security programme will be implemented in the school premises.
As many as 257 people were killed and more than 500 injured in bomb blasts on 21 April in Colombo. These attacks were carried out by some local maulanas who had visited neighbouring India before the attack and made contact with ISIS-linked terrorists in Kerala and Jammu and Kashmir.
Sri Lankan Army chief said that these terrorists had visited Kerala and Kashmir in India to take training or strengthen their relations with other terrorist organisations. Sri Lanka blamed a local organisation Thowheeth Jamaath for the attack while the Islamic State acknowledged responsibility for the attack some days later.