Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday condemned the passage of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill saying that it marks the "victory of narrow-minded and bigoted forces over India's pluralism." "Today marks a dark day in the constitutional history of India. The passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill marks the victory of narrow-minded and bigoted forces over India's pluralism," she said in a statement.
She stressed that the Bill fundamentally challenges the idea of India that our forefathers fought for and, in its place, creates a disturbed, distorted and divided India where religion will become a determinant of nationhood.
The interim Congress president said the "Citizenship Amendment Bill is not just an affront to the eternal principles of equality and religious non-discrimination that have been enshrined in our Constitution, but represents a rejection of an India that would be a free nation for all her people, irrespective of religion, region, caste, creed, language or ethnicity." "In its design its grave implications, this flawed legislation is antithetical to the spirit of the freedom movement and violative of the soul of our nation," said Gandhi.
Highlighting that ours is a nation that has historically offered refuge and protection to the persecuted of all nations and of all faiths, she noted that "we have always stood firm with the knowledge that free India can only remain free if her people are liberated, if her voices are heard, and if our institutions, our governments and our political forces dedicate themselves to securing the inalienable rights of the citizens of this country." She said it is ironic that the Bill has been pushed through at a time when the country and indeed the whole world are celebrating the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
"In this moment of anguish, I would like to reiterate the Congress Party determination to be relentless in our struggle against the BJP's dangerously divisive and polarizing agenda," said Gandhi.
The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which seeks to give citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.
The Lok Sabha has already passed the Bill. The Bill had been tabled in the Rajya Sabha by Home Minister Amit Shah earlier in the day. In the Rajya Sabha, 125 MPs voted for the Bill while 105 against.