The Government has decided to suspend issuing visas for tourists from Myanmar following fears that Rohingya Muslims may attempt to enter Sri Lanka to seek refuge.
Minister of Internal Affairs S. B. Navinna has told The Sunday Leader that the decision to suspend issuing visas to Myanmar nationals was taken as a result of the crisis in that country.
He said that Rohingya Muslims may visit Sri Lanka as tourists and then seek refuge.
The Government fears that some Rohingya Muslims who have already sought refuge in India may look to enter Sri Lanka fearing deportation from India.
In April, the coast guard detained 32 Rohingya Muslims who fled India by boat. The boat was detained in the Northern seas and was brought ashore to Kankesanthurai (KKS).
There were seven women and 16 children below the age of nine, including a 15-day-old and four month old children on the boat.
More than 1 million Rohingya live in apartheid-like conditions in Myanmar‘s Rakhine State, where many in the Buddhist majority consider them interlopers from Bangladesh.
Thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled their homes in Rakhine state after the government intensified ‘clearance operations’ following an attack by Rohingya militants on border posts, in which 12 security officials were killed.
Report by Indika Sri Aravinda