Source: India West

By Arul Louis, Ians

UNITED NATIONS — Meeting under the grim shadow of the overnight Las Vegas, Nevada, massacre, the leadership of the global organization Oct. 2 renewed its commitment to embodying Mahatma Gandhi’s belief in the power of nonviolence.

Gandhi’s principle of nonviolence was the core principle of the U.N., said General Assembly president Miroslav Lajcak, speaking at the observance of Gandhi Jayanti as the International Day of Nonviolence here.

“The U.N. is the greatest promoter of nonviolence,” he declared. “Every day, the U.N. is using non-violent means to strive for peace and decent life for all on a sustainable planet.”

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s Chef de Cabinet Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti recalled that Gandhi declared nonviolence the “greatest weapon” and said: “We are committed to translate this belief into action.”

Nonviolence underpins the unity of the U.N. in its quest for a peaceful world amid a rising tide of messages of hatred against minorities and refugees, and xenophobia, she said.

India’s Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin said that violent incidents were on the rise with civilians as the primary victims in recent times, compared with a century ago when 90 percent of those killed in conflict were non-civilians.

Military spending was also on the rise as was violence against the environment, he said.

Gandhi’s messages had the answers for the world to find solutions to these problems, he said.

“We are not in the world that Gandhi dreamed of,” Lajcak said. But as the global leader for nonviolence, the U.N. should promote peaceful methods of conflict resolution such as mediation, he said.

Prevention, he said, would be at the core of activities of the General Assembly’s current session, over which he has been elected to preside.

For each message of violence, there should be two messages of peace, he said.

On the night of Oct. 1 in Las Vegas, a gunman killed more than 50 and injured over 200 people at a concert in the worst shooting incident in modern U.S. history.

PTI adds from New Delhi: There have been no reports of any Indian casualty in the mass shooting in Las Vegas, the External Affairs Ministry said Oct. 2.

“Our Consulate in San Francisco continues to monitor the situation on a real time basis,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, responding to a query.

India-West staff reporter adds from New York: Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) joined Consul General of India Sandeep Chakravorty and members of the Indian American community to celebrate the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi and to recognize the International Day of Nonviolence. Maloney spoke to the gathered crowd at the Gandhi statue in Union Square Park.

“I was honored to join Consul General Chakravorty and the Indian American community to recognize the amazing contributions of Mahatma Gandhi on his birthday and the International Day of Nonviolence. Today’s event and the celebration of non-violence was especially poignant in light of the horrific mass shooting that occurred in Las Vegas only hours earlier.

“As I work in Congress to advance equality for women under the law, I am often inspired by the words of Gandhiji.”

In Washington, D.C., the 148th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi was celebrated at the Embassy of India also on Oct. 2. The event started with Ambassador Navtej Sarna paying floral tributes to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi located in front of the Embassy premises. Thereafter, the ambassador addressed the gathering. A cultural program comprising of patriotic songs was also presented. The ceremony was attended by around 200 prominent members of the Indian American and larger community.