Colombo: Sri Lankan authorities Monday extended by 48 hours the deadline for the public to surrender swords, daggers, sharp weapons and clothing similar to that of military uniforms as part of a crackdown on suspects following the Easter Sunday bombings which killed over 250 people.
On Saturday, the Sri Lankan police asked the public to hand over swords and large knives to the nearest police station after a large haul of weapons, including swords, and camouflaged materials were recovered during searches of mosques and houses.
"The time period granted to hand in swords, daggers, sharp weapons and clothing similar to that of military uniforms has been extended by 48 hours. The time period set to hand in such objects was to expire at midnight today (Monday)," News 1st channel reported.
The police Head Office has taken all necessary steps to inform the police stations across the country about the extension, police media spokesperson SP Ruwan Gunasekara said.
According to the police, several people including politicians were arrested for possessing sharp-edged weapons like swords since the crackdown began to arrest the suspects and their network, following the April 21 blasts which killed 253 people and injured over 500 others.
The Islamic State terror group claimed the attacks, but the government blamed local Islamist extremist group National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ).
Sri Lanka banned the NTJ and arrested over 100 people in connection with the blasts.
Sri Lanka has imposed a state of emergency since the attacks and given sweeping powers to soldiers and police to arrest and detain suspects for long periods.
House-to-house searches are being carried out across the country looking for explosives and propaganda material of Islamic extremists.