Despite apprehensions, there were no untoward incidents soon after Sri Lanka lost the vote at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

There was some fear among the Indian community that it could be targeted, but this turned out to be misplaced.

Several groups had organised protests in Colombo in the days leading to the vote, and the media were extremely critical of India in the last few days.

The first sign of normality was that a function slated for the evening and featuring almost all top officials of the Indian High Commission, the Secretary-General of the main party that heads the ruling UPFA coalition, the SLFP, Maithripala Sirisena, and over 300 Sri Lankan students was held as scheduled and with considerable bonhomie.

More than friends

Students recalled their stay in India and said that both countries were more than friends. Most students said they were as comfortable in India as they were in Sri Lanka. The Minister too highlighted the many levels of cooperation that existed between the two countries.

Restaurants and clubs did brisk business and it seemed business as usual in Colombo.

“India did a favour”

Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris issued a statement in Geneva which obliquely hinted at the Indian role. But a few others in Sri Lanka, who had studied the resolution, said that India had done Sri Lanka a favour by making sure that the wording was changed not to allow the inclusion of the ‘Trojan clause' – ‘technical assistance' from UNHRC to investigate human rights allegations.

“At the popular level there might be anger. But I am sure everyone in positions of authority knows how much India has helped,” an official said.