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Sri Lanka arrests two for allegedly spreading Wahabism

Police spokesman DIG Ajith Rohana

Sri Lanka’s Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) have arrested two people, under its draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), for allegedly spread “extremist and Wahabism” through WhatsApp.

Police spokesman DIG Ajith Rohana stated that the two individuals were 28 and 29 years old and from Kattankudy. They further reported that had been deported from Qatar in November alongside four others. The six suspects, the TID claims, were involved in publishing the Zahran's oath-taking of Baiyath and videos and photos of the Easter Sunday attack. The TID have arrested eight people for allegedly spreading Wahabism in March alone.

Sri Lanka first implemented the PTA in 1979 to enable its security forces to detain Tamil youth for 18 months without charge. Human rights groups have been calling for the repeal of the PTA since the 1980s. In March, Sri Lanka proposed to expand upon PTA so as to ‘deradicalise’ those with extremist ideology.

This arrest follows a number of proposed discriminatory legislation which targets Muslims in Sri Lanka. In March, Sri Lanka's Minister of Public Security Sarath Weerasekara announced that Sri Lanka is to ban the burqa and close 1,000 Islamic schools on grounds of 'national security'.

Last week, the TID arrested two Tamils in Jaffna for allegedly “promoting terrorism” and promoting "terrorism-related activities" on their YouTube channel. Seven Tamils have been arrested since last November under allegations of terrorism.

Military spokesman Brigadier Nilantha Premaratne has reported that the military was collecting intelligence and was conducting constant surveillance on suspected terrorism.

Read more here.

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