Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Saturday issued a proclamation extending Emergency in the country by a month. In the decree, Sirisena said he believed there was a “public emergency” in the country, and was invoking provisions of the Public Security Act to extend the state of emergency, adaderana.lk reported.
The state of emergency was first imposed following serial bombings in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday on April 21 that killed over 200 people. It was renewed on May 22, but was to expire on Saturday.
According to the Sri Lankan Constitution, Emergency can be declared for a month at a time, and must be ratified by Parliament within 10 days, adaderana.lk reported.
However, the extension of the Emergency comes as a surprise. In May, Sirisena had told diplomats from Australia, Canada, Japan, the United States and European states that the situation was almost back to normal, and he would allow the Emergency to lapse on June 22, PTI reported.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe commended the security forces of Sri Lanka for successfully apprehending every suspect from the National Thowheed Jamath group, which is suspected to be linked with the Easter Sunday attacks, adaderana.lk reported. He added that security forces have also arrested many other members of similar groups. “We truly have ensured security today,” Wickremesinghe said.
The Sri Lankan Police have arrested over 1,000 suspects following the attacks. Police officials say that all those responsible for the blasts have either been killed or arrested.
Earlier this month, the Sri Lankan Cabinet approved a proposal to introduce five-year jail terms and a penalty for people who spread fake news and hate speech on social media. Offenders will be fined one million Sri Lankan rupees (approximately Rs 4 lakh). The proposal follows the increase in vitriol and disinformation since the Easter Sunday suicide attacks.