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Remove face cover when entering polling centres: EC

6 November 2019 07:21 am - 5     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Muslim women can wear either the burqa or niqab when they come for voting but should remove their face cover at the entrance to the polling centre, Election Commission (EC) Director-General Saman Sri Ratnayake said.

Speaking to Daily Mirror, he said what was required was to prove her identity inside the polling centre when she was given a ballot paper.

“Her identity should tally with the face on the identity card. For that, she has to remove the face cover,” Mr Ratnayake said. “This is not only to help the presiding officers but the polling agents as well.”

He said it was absolutely necessary to verify the identity of an individual, who comes for voting.

“We can’t forbid the wearing of burqa and niqab because it is connected to their culture. What we expect from the voters is to verify their identity before a ballot paper is given to them,” Mr. Ratnayake said. “How can we allow someone to cast her or his vote without identifying themselves,” Mr. Ratnayake said.

When asked what could be done if someone refuses to remove the face cover, Mr. Ratnayake said the respective presiding officers would have to refuse such a person to cast her vote. (Sheain Fernandopulle)

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  • DillonDP Wednesday, 06 November 2019 08:15 AM

    I thought covering face was banned?? Unless EC just woke from his sleep

    Sri Lankan Wednesday, 06 November 2019 08:24 AM

    No face covering required in SL. If Muslims cover all others have the right to cover their face in public.

    Dhammika Wednesday, 06 November 2019 09:19 AM

    Identity is a must with face verification and ID confirmation . Excellent practical solution .

    Yehiya Wednesday, 06 November 2019 09:21 AM

    Correct. All public places must cooperate to officers.

    LAW Wednesday, 06 November 2019 04:26 PM

    Govt officials should be more cautious when making a statement. instead of confusing the public. As at now, all Muslims are of the opinion that Muslim women are not permitted to cover their face in public. That has not changed. This issue of opening a face cover when voting does not exist. Can the election commissioner please correct his statement.


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