(Photo by ABDUL MAJEED/AFP via Getty Images)

Sri Lanka’s Cabinet on Tuesday approved a controversial proposal to ban all forms of face coverings in public places, citing a threat to national security.

The move came weeks after Minister of Public Security Sarath Weerasekara signed a note in March, seeking the approval of the Cabinet to ban burqas- outer garments that cover the body and face worn by some Muslim women.

The Cabinet has decided to ban all forms of face coverings in public places, Cabinet spokesperson and information minister Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters here, without specifying burqas.

He said the decision was taken two years after a wave of coordinated terror attacks on hotels and churches on Easter Sunday.

“All forms of face covers are a threat to national security,” he said. However, wearing face masks to combat Covid-19 is allowed. The covering of the full face will automatically include burqa and niqab. The proposal now must be approved by Parliament to become a law.