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Elated by India’s abstention at UN vote, Lanka frees fishermen

Rajapaksa hailed India's abstention as a very welcome and significant development which was very encouraging towards Sri Lanka.

By: Press Trust of India | Colombo |
Updated: March 28, 2014 12:02:36 pm
The frequent arrest of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy has become a major irritant in bilateral ties. Express The frequent arrest of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy has become a major irritant in bilateral ties. Express

An elated President Mahinda Rajapaksa today ordered the release of all 98 Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody for alleged poaching, a day after India abstained from voting on a US-backed UN resolution censuring Colombo on its human rights record.

“The President this morning has ordered the release of all Indian fishermen,” Wijayananda Herath, a presidential spokesman said.
“There are 98 fishermen and 62 boats to be released. The President’s instructions have gone to the Attorney General’s Department and the Ministry of Fisheries to make the necessary arrangements for their release,” Herath said.

The frequent arrest of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy has become a major irritant in bilateral ties. India was one of the 12 nations that abstained at yesterday’s UNHRC vote on the resolution which has prescribed an international probe into Sri Lanka’s alleged rights abuses.

Rajapaksa hailed India’s abstention as a very welcome and significant development which was very encouraging towards Sri
Lanka. India had supported both previous US-moved resolutions in 2012 and 2013.The resolution, which called for an international probe into alleged war crimes during the civil war that ended in 2009, was adopted with a 23-12 vote with 12 abstentions, including India, in the 47-member UN Human Rights Council at Geneva yesterday.

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Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister G L Peiris also hailed India’s stand.
“India for example, they had voted in favour of the US both in 2012 and 2013. They departed from that course of
action this time. This is a very significant development,” Peiris said.

India said the resolution imposed an “intrusive approach” of international probe mechanism which was counterproductive
apart from being “inconsistent and impractical”.

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