Some Facebook Posts and even mainstream news websites claim that Burqa and Niqab (veils) are banned at the polling centers during the upcoming presidential election on 16th of November as informed by the Election Commission.
Below is one such claim in which Traditional Muslims – Sri Lanka Facebook Page stated the following in the caption of one of their post: “බුර්කා – නිකාබ් පැළඳ ඡන්ද පොළට පැමිණීම තහනම්බුර්කා සහ නිකාබ් පැළඳ ඡන්ද පොළට පැමිණීම තහනම් බව මැතිවරණ කොමිසම කියයි” It translates as: “Burqa and Niqab are banned on the polling centers – Election Commission.
This news has been published in many news websites as well,
|Lankadeepa.lk||News Link||Archived Link|
|Newsi.lk||News Link||Archived Link|
|Gossip.hirufm.lk||News Link||Archived Link|
|Gossiplankanews.com||News Link||Archived Link|
So, has the EC imposed a ban on burqa and niqab during polling? Let’s find out the truth.
President Maithripala Sirisena took steps to impose the ban to avoid identification of one’s self under Emergency Regulations with effect from 29th of April, post Easter Sunday Attacks. However, with the lifting of State of Emergency the ban on all face coverings including Niqab and Burqa was lifted, as confirmed by Police Headquarters on 21st of September.
When we researched about news report published regarding the same, we noticed an article from Times Online , which stated “The burqa (face-veil) will not be banned during voting of the upcoming Presidential election, although voters will have to uncover their faces to confirm their identity, a senior Election Commission (EC) official said.”
We contacted an official from the Election Commission who informed us that they never mention anything about Burqa and Niqab ban at the polling centers and few more had inquired about this claim.
As we said earlier, he added “similar to the elections conducted in the past, women who wear Burqa, Niqab or any other veil will have to uncover their faces in front of an election official to confirm the identity of the voter and a statement on the same had been issued by the Election Commissioner as well”.
We also noticed some of the comments for the above post, mentioning that the image itself is wrong in portraying Burqa and Niqab and that such a Burqa is not much worn by Sri Lankan Musilms.
From our investigation it is clear that the news regarding Burqa and Niqab being banned on Presidential Election Voting day is false. However, the women who wear the Burqa or any other head wear which covers the face would have to reveal their to an official to confirm their identity, which has been the practice in all previous elections as well.
Title:Burqa and Niqab Banned at Polling Centers?Fact Check By: Nelson Mani