Sri Lanka to regulate public functions after suicide blast


Colombo : In a precautionary measure following Tuesday’s suicide blast in Matara district, Sri Lanka Friday made the defence ministry’s approval mandatory for all national and provincial events and festivals.

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“Accordingly, to obtain the approval for a national festival where VIPs and a large number of public participation together with wide media coverage, a request should be made via the inspector general of police,” Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) Director General Lakshman Hulugalle said in a statement.

He said the inspector general of police will then obtain the necessary approval from the secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Public Security, Law and Order.

Besides this, obtaining approval for political, religious and other festivals ranging from provincial level to divisional and urban levels would have to be forwarded through relevant police stations, which in turn would forward these to the high-ups for necessary approval.

The public is also requested to apply two weeks prior to the event in order to obtain the necessary security clearance. The defence ministry has taken these measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the general public, the MCNS statement said.

At least 14 people were killed and 46 others, including a senior minister, were wounded when a suicide bomber of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) blew himself up, targeting a procession celebrating Prophet Mohammed’s birthday in the southern town of Akuressa in Matara district Tuesday.

The suicide attack came as the military said it was in the final phase of recapturing the last strongholds of the LTTE, which has now been boxed into a land stretch of less than 40 sq km in the northeastern Mullaitivu district.

Condemning the attack, Sri Lanka said the bombing would only “strengthen our resolve to end terrorism” in the island nation.