600 visa violators deported; among them 200 Islamic preachers

More than 600 foreigners, including Islamic preachers who have come on tourist visas, have been deported during the past week for violating visa regulations.

Home Affairs Minister Vajira Abeywardena, under whose purview the Immigration Department comes, told the Sunday Times that at a meeting presided over by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, a directive was issued to the Immigration Department higher-ups to deport all persons violating visas.

Accordingly all those people arrested for violating visa regulations have been deported.

An Immigration Department official said that at present, at least 200 foreigners were in involved in Islamic preaching in Sri Lanka. They were issued visas on the recommendations of the Muslim Affairs Ministry.

He said that at the prime minister’s meeting, senior Immigration Department officials submitted a list of foreign Islamic preachers in Sri Lanka.

He said that his Department issued them visas after obtaining security clearance from the Defence Ministry, in keeping with the usual procedure.

Sri Lanka expels 200 Islamic clerics after Easter attacks

The government was overhauling the country’s visa policy following fears that foreign clerics could radicalise locals for a repeat of the April 21 suicide bombings.

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