Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Anand Sharma on Wednesday said the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, that seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh "hurts the very soul of the Constitution of India". Speaking in the Rajya Sabha during the debate on the bill, the Congress leader said that if the bill was passed by the Upper House, it will be an "insult" to the founding fathers of India.
"I am here to tell you Chairman Sir, that both me and my party do not agree with this bill and its contents. We cannot find ourselves able to align with this bill. We feel it is unconstitutional. In fact, I am convinced that this bill is an assault at the very foundation of the constitution of India. It hurts the very soul of the Constitution of India. It goes against the very preamble of the constitution," Sharma said.
Sharma raised his concern over the religion based criteria of granting citizenship and asked why a particular community was kept out of the bill. "What is the government trying to do here? Why make this process based on religion? Why keep out a certain community?" he questioned.
"If this bill is passed in Parliament today, it will be an insult to our founding fathers and our rich history. It will be remembered as a shameful incident in history," the Congress leader added.
He also said that if Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi after taking re-birth, they will be angry with him. "In our religion, we believe in rebirth,and that we meet our elders. So if Sardar Patel meets Modi ji then he will be very angry with him, Gandhi ji will ofcourse be sad, but Patel will be indeed very angry," he added.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill seeks to grant citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians fleeing persecution in Muslim-majority Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The citizenship will be granted only to those non-Muslims who came to India till December 31 2014. It has already been cleared by the Lok Sabha and was up for passage in the Rajya Sabha today.