Close on the heels of Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram expressing the view that India should have supported the U.N. Human Rights Council resolution against Sri Lanka, Union Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan on Sunday said he was “agonised and shocked” by the country’s abstention.

Speaking to reporters here at the State Congress headquarters in the presence of TNCC president B.S. Gnanadesikan and senior leader Jayanthi Natarajan, Mr. Vasan said he had conveyed the sentiments of Congress leaders and the people of Tamil Nadu on the issue to the Prime Minister’s Office and the External Affairs Ministry.

“India’s abstention has caused agony and shock for a majority of Congress leaders and workers in the State. There could be no two opinions on the serious human rights violations that took place in Sri Lanka [in the last leg of the military conflict during 2009],” the Minister said.

‘Opinion not shaped by polls’

Mr. Vasan, however, added that the Congress always accorded top priority to the interests of the Sri Lankan Tamil community. “Unlike other political parties, the opinion of the Congress is not shaped by elections,” he clarified.

When asked about the DMK chief, M. Karunanidhi’s remarks that his party was prepared to support the Congress after the elections if the party “regretted its mistakes,” Mr. Vasan said the Congress was happy at the opportunity provided to the party to contest alone in the coming election.

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