Hitting back at Union Home Minister Amit Shah for accusing the Congress of dividing the country on religious lines, saying “the Congress believes in one nation”, Kapil Sibal asked the BJP chief to withdraw the allegation.
Sibal, who was speaking on the Citizenship Amendment Bill or CAB in the Rajya Sabha today, said that the distinguished Home Minister claimed that the CAB wouldn’t have been needed if Congress hadn’t allowed Partition on basis of religion.
“I don’t understand which history books the learned Home Minister has read, which authors he has consulted. Two-nation theory is not our theory. It was perpetrated by Savarkar,” the senior Congress leader said.
He added that the Bill gives “legal colour to the two-nation theory”.
Referring to the Home Minister’s assertion that it’s a “historic Bill”, Sibal lamented, “Yes, it is historic because you are changing the foundation of the Constitution, you are changing the history and the future of the country.”
In his rebuttal, Sibal repeated his party colleague and Thiruvanthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor’s quip regarding the BJP chief’s knowledge of history.
Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday had said the BJP president was “not paying attention” in History classes and reminded him that “the Hindu Mahasabha and the Muslim League were the only ones espousing the two-nation theory”.
“The fact is that throughout the freedom struggle, the Congress was the one party that claimed to have represented everyone and stood for an India of all religions,” Tharoor said.
Earlier in the day, Congress leader Anand Sharma also tutored the home minister in History after he tabled the contentious Bill in the Rajya Sabha.
“Let us set the history record clear… The two-nation theory was opposed vehemently by the Congress. It was Savarkar and the Hindu Mahasabha that passed legislation on the two-nation theory in Ahmedabad in 1937. Congress leaders who protested strongly were put in jail. That is when the Hindu Mahasabha and the Muslim League came forward and suggested this solution to Her Majesty’s government,” he said.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday after an intense 12-hour debate that went on till midnight. The Bill cleared the lower House with 311 voting for the bill and 80 against.
The Congress, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool and other parties have strongly opposed the Bill, which seeks to make non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh eligible to become Indian citizens. They call the bill “discriminatory”, anti-Muslims and in violation of the principles of equality and secularism in the Constitution.
Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi tweeted this morning, “The CAB is an attempt by Modi-Shah Govt to ethnically cleanse the North East. It is a criminal attack on the North East, their way of life and the idea of India. I stand in solidarity with the people of the North East and am at their service.”
While rejecting the allegation that the Bill is “divisive” and anti-Muslims, Amit Shah said that “Muslims need not fear. They were, are and will remain Indian citizens”.
Responding to Shah’s claim, Sibal said, “The government is attempting to target a community without naming it. Home Minister said that Indian Muslims need nor fear. I say they never feared you and never will.”