TDN World Desk: In an Op-ed article for The Indian Express former Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) Ban Ki-Moon has spoken on a number of key issues such as – Indian democracy, its future, and the situation in the country.The article published by The Indian Express focuses the issue of Delhi violence and India’s rising threat to its secular, democratic nature as envisioned by its founding fathers. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, who is now the Deputy Chair of The Elders, in his contemplative article, also expressed concern over the attempts of marginalization and otherisation of the Muslims by the current Modi government through invoking contentious CAA.

followings are the excerpts of Ban Ki-Moon’s views and observations from the op-ed article :

On India’s Tradition of Democracy & Ahimsa

“Millions of people around the world remain inspired by the example of Mahatma Gandhi, who led India to independence. One of his greatest admirers was Nelson Mandela, who recognised a kindred spirit in the fight against oppression and discrimination. When Mandela was awarded the Gandhi Prize in 2008, he called on rising powers like South Africa and India to work together so “democracy and equality becomes a reality” in the international order. His words still ring true today.”

Gandhian Vision is in Threat

“I am deeply concerned that Gandhi’s vision is now threatened by sectarian violence and divisive political rhetoric.”

CAA,NRC Movement and delhi-violence interrelated

“The attacks on poor, working people, mainly Muslims, in Delhi cannot be separated from the attempts by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to redefine Indian citizenship and who is eligible for it, via the recent Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), and the proposed National Population Register and National Register of Citizens.”

On India’s Democratic Future

“These measures would appear to be incompatible with Article 14 of India’s Constitution, which clearly states that all citizens are equal before the law. Together, these developments pose searching questions about India’s democratic future and its place in the global family of nations. Callous imperialism was the handmaiden to India’s violent birth as an independent state. Today, only Indians are responsible for the direction of their country.”

On Exclusion of the Muslims from CAA

“There is no way that India can overcome its developmental challenges by pitting one religious group against another and turning some Indians into second-class citizens. Yet, I fear this is the precise implication of the CAA and other legislative measures that PM Modi’s government has proposed. When people of one religion are denied access to citizenship that is freely available to others, it prompts memories of some of the darkest periods in recent human history.”

On Attacks on Muslims /Mob-lynching

“International observers, including myself, have also been increasingly alarmed at the arbitrary attacks on India’s Muslims based on rumours about sensitive issues such as cow slaughter, beef consumption and inter-communal personal relationships.”

“These actions are tantamount to vigilante punishment, which has a harmful impact on social cohesion as well as the democratic fabric of society. If India were to go further down this path of nationalist and religious discrimination, it would be a political and social catastrophe that could set back the country’s development for generations.”

On Assam NRC

“The protests in Assam, when this new citizenship law was first introduced on a trial basis last year, were a harbinger of the wider nationwide alarm, and should have prompted the government to pause and listen to its citizens. More than 1.9 million citizens, both Hindus and Muslims, were left off the NRC in Assam when it was introduced in 2019, sparking fears that they could be declared stateless when the next census is carried out in 2021.”

On CAA-NRC Protests

“Protests against the register and citizenship law united Muslims, Hindus and Indians of other religions, who voiced their common concerns at the threat to secular democracy. This commitment to solidarity was also evident among civil society groups working in Delhi to support victims of the recent violence.”

On Peace and Prosperity of India

“It is only through free, unified and collective mobilisation that India can achieve lasting peace, justice and prosperity. Your country’s founding fathers understood this necessity. Their vision should remain at the heart of your future.”