Over 100 Indian fishermen remained in Sri Lankan custody after some 170 others were freed last week. Almost all of them are from Tamil Nadu.

The President's Office said Rajapaksa ordered that all the remaining Indian fishermen should be set free as a goodwill gesture.

The Indian government on Thursday made a surprise decision to abstain from voting at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. New Delhi criticized US sponsored draft resolution, saying it was inconsistent and impractical.

There was a strong speculation that India would back the resolution, especially with political parties in Tamil Nadu raising the pitch against the Sri Lankan government.

India's permanent representative to UN, Dilip Sinha, said in Geneva it was New Delhi's firm belief that adopting an intrusive approach that undermined national sovereignty and institutions was counter-productive.

The resolution was, however, passed by a majority vote with 23 countries in the 47-member council voting for it and 12 against.

A total of 12 countries abstained. China, Russia, Pakistan and Cuba were among the countries that voted against the resolution. Japan also abstained.

The resolution calls for an international investigation over alleged human rights abuses during the war in Sri Lanka.

Colombo maintains it will not agree to an international probe.


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