Spirit of Mahatma Gandhi needed more than ever, says Antonio Guterres

Age Correspondent With Agency Inputs

India, All India

Guterres has expressed sadness over the casualties following the protests in Delhi.

Mahatma Gandhi

New Delhi/New York/Washington: Expressing sadness over the violence in Delhi, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that Mahatma Gandhi’s spirit is needed more than ever as it is essential to create conditions for a true community reconciliation, even as he called for maximum restraint and for violence to be avoided.

The United States meanwhile has urged India to “protect and respect” the right to peaceful assembly of people and hold accountable those perpetrating violence following the Delhi riots over the amended citizenship act, saying that Washington has raised the issue at the highest level with New Delhi.

Mr. Guterres has expressed sadness over the casualties following the protests in Delhi, and called for maximum restraint and for violence to be avoided, the UN chief’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters on Thursday. “The Secretary-General has been following the situation in India and ... Concerning the violence closely and is saddened by the reports of deaths that we’ve seen over the past few days in New Delhi and again reiterates, as he’s done in other  places, his calls for maximum restraint and for violence to be avoided,” Dujarric said.

Throughout his life, “the Secretary-General has been deeply inspired by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. And today the spirit of Gandhi is needed more than ever and it is essential to create conditions for true community reconciliation”, he said.

In its reaction, the United States said, “We strongly condemn the recent violence and urge authorities to protect and respect the right of peaceful assembly and hold accountable those perpetrating violence. We call on all parties to maintain peace and refrain from violence.”

Underlining that respect for religious freedom under the law are fundamental principles of the two democracies, the official said, “We note that India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for peace and the Indian government’s pledge to prevent further violence and restore normalcy.”

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