Sri Lanka bans 11 hardline Islamist organisations

Sri Lanka has banned 11 hardline Islamist organisations, including the Islamic State (ISIS) and al-Qaeda, for their links to extremist activities in the country, according to an official announcement. Under a special gazette notification issued on Tuesday, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, proscribed the radical groups under the Prevention of Terrorism (temporary) Provisions Act.

The notification specifies that any person who acts in contravention or conspires to act would be sentenced to prison terms between 20 and 10 years. Among the banned organisations are local Muslim groups, including the Sri Lanka Islamic Students Movement. In the immediate aftermath of the 2019 Easter Sunday suicide bomb attacks, Sri Lanka had banned the local Jihadi group National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ) and two other outfits. 270 people were killed while 500 were injured by the NTJ suicide bomb attacks on churches and luxury hotels. A special probe panel appointed in 2019 by former President Maithripala Sirisena had recommended the banning of Muslim extremist organisations who advocate radicalism in the Buddhist-majority country. The report also asked for the banning of an extremist Buddhist group, BBS or the Forces of Buddhist Power. The panel said that the BBS’ actions had contributed to the radicalisation of Muslims. The gazette, however, has excluded the Buddhist group.