As the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, sailed through in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said it was a “dark day” in the constitutional history of India and argued that the passage of the “flawed” legislation marks the victory of narrow-minded and bigoted forces over India’s pluralism.
She said the Bill is antithetical to the spirit of the freedom movement and violative of the soul of the nation.
“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,” Gandhi said in a statement.
Today, she said, 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. 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,” she said.
“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,” she added. Arguing that India has historically offered refuge and protection to the persecuted of all nations and of all faiths, she said “we are a proud nation that has never been broken by the insecurity of a few, for we have always stood firm with the knowledge that a 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.”
“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’s determination to be relentless in our struggle against the BJP’s dangerously divisive and polarising agenda,” she added.