Overstaying with expired visas, Sri Lanka expels 200 Islamic clerics after Easter attack

Keeping national security at priority, the Sri Lankan government has stepped up in taking many important and major decisions. With the security crackdown after the attacks it has been found that some of the clerics have overstayed their visas in the country. In this context, Sri Lanka has expelled over 600 foreign nationals, including around 200 Islamic clerics, since the Easter suicide bombings blamed on a local jihadi group.

According to Home Affairs Minister Vajira Abeywardena, he said that after the Easter attacks, security has been at beefed up and during this time, it was found that some of the cleric’s visas have been expired. Although the clerics had entered the country legally, they overstayed in the country with expired visas for which fines were imposed and they were expelled from the island.

This comes after the country reviewed the visa system and has taken a decision to tighten visa restrictions on religious teachers (clerics). Out of the total who were expelled, 200 were Islamic clerics. Although the minister did not reveal much detail about the nationality of those expelled, the police officials said many foreigners who have overstayed their visas since the Easter attacks were from Bangladesh, India, Maldives and Pakistan.

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Acting strongly on visa policy, the minister said that the government was refitting the country’s visa policy fearing that foreign clerics could radicalise locals that would probably result in another attacks in future. Sri Lanka has imposed a state of emergency since the attacks with intensified security. House-to-house searches are being carried out across the country looking for explosives and propaganda material of Islamic extremists.

Considered as one of the deadliest attacks on mankind, Sri Lanka was attacked on Easter Sunday on April 21. Three churches, three luxurious hotels were targeted killing around 259 people and wounded nearly 500.


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