NEW DELHI :
Soon after the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesdday, Congress interim Chief Sonia Gandhi described it as a "dark day" in the constitutional history of the country and said passage of the Bill marks the victory of "narrow minded and bigoted forces" over India's pluralism.
In a statement, Sonia Gandhi said, "Today marks a dark day in the constitutional history of India. The passage of the CAB marks the victory of narrow-minded and bigoted forces over India's pluralism."
Her remarks came soon after the Rajya Sabha passed the CAB that seeks to give Indian nationality to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan though it was vehemently opposed by major opposition parties who described it "against Muslim community", which the government rejected saying it does not affect the community residing in the country.
The Bill was tabled for discussion in the Upper House by Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The CAB was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday.
Hitting out at the government, the Congreess leader said that the Bill fundamentally challenges the idea of India that the forefathers fought for and, in its place, creates a "disturbed, distorted and divided India" where religion will become a determinant of nationhood.
She said the CAB 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.
Sonia Gandhi further said that 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 said, "Ours is a nation that has historically offered refuge and protection to the persecuted of all nations and of all faiths. 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 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."
Sonia Gandhi also took a dig at the government over passing the Bill in the 150th birth anniversary year 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 polarizing agenda," she added.