‘If Sardar Patel meets Modiji…’: Anand Sharma jabs PM on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill
Asserting that the bill was against the Preamble of the Constitution, Anand Sharma asked the BJP to introspect in the wake of violent protests against the legislation in the northeast.Updated: Dec 11, 2019 16:55 IST
Congress leader Anand Sharma led the opposition’s offensive against the citizenship amendment bill that halves an 11-year-long wait for citizenship for non-muslims from three countries, describing the bill as an assault on the foundation of the constitution.
“It hurts the soul of India. It is against our Constitution and democracy. It fails the morality test. It fails the constitutionality test. It is divisive and discriminatory,” Anand Sharma told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, the first leader to speak after Home Minister Amit Shah introduced the bill. The House is scheduled to debate the bill for at least six hours before it is put up for a vote.
Shah, who had blamed India’s Partition on the Congress in the Lok Sabha, attacked previous governments at the Centre for not being concerned about the plight of refugees in neighbouring countries for 72 years.
Asserting that the bill was against the Preamble of the Constitution, Anand Sharma asked the BJP to introspect in the wake of violent protests against the legislation in the northeast.
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“I appeal to you to look at India, its society and its humanity through the spectacles of Mahatma Gandhi. Your Citizenship Amendment Bill clashes with that,” Sharma said.
Sharma said India’s first Home Minister Sardar Patel will be “angry” with Prime Minister Narendra Modi if he had met him today. “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. Gandhiji will, of course, be sad, but Patel will be indeed very angry,” he said.
He also underscored that it was Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh icon Veer Savarkar who was among the first ones to support the partition of undivided India. Savarkar announced in 1944, he said, that he had no problems with Jinnah’s proposal for two-nation theory.
“Savarkar was the leader of Hindu Mahasabha. (Muhammad Ali) Jinnah was the leader of Muslim League. The two-nation theory was not propagated by Congress. It was done by Savarkar. The Muslim League adopted the Partition of India resolution,” the Congress leader said.
On Shah’s jibe that the previous governments had not been sensitive to the plight of persecuted people; Sharma also drew attention to how when people of Indian origin faced problems in Uganda and Kenya, those who chose to return to India were given equal rights and avenues for earning their living.
Flagging the “inhuman” conditions in the detention camps he said, if the government plans to have NRC pan India, the country will have “concentration camps”. He also quote Swami Vivekananda’s speech at the conference of world religions in Chicago in 1893 where he spoke proudly about India throwing its doors open to people who needed shelter.
The Bill seeks to grant Indian citizenship to refugees from Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Zoroastrian communities fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who entered India on or before December 31, 2014.