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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.

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.

Earlier Dujarric had said that Guterres is closely following the situation in New Delhi and stressed that demonstrators should be allowed to demonstrate peacefully and security forces should show restraint.

The death toll in Delhi's worst riots in more than three decades climbed to 38 as the violence ebbed but did not subside completely.

Communal clashes broke out in northeast Delhi after violence between anti- and pro-Citizenship (Amendment) Act groups spiralled out of control. Frenzied mobs torched houses, shops, vehicles, a petrol pump and pelted stones at local residents and police personnel.

Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Thursday said law enforcement agencies are working on the ground to prevent violence and ensure restoration of confidence and normalcy.

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