NEW DELHI: The Congress will "tooth and nail" oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Parliament as it is against the country's Constitution and its secular ethos, party leaders said on Sunday.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the Congress' leader in Lok Sabha, made the party's stand clear after a meeting of the Congress' parliamentary strategy group at party president Sonia Gandhi's 10 Janpath residence here.
Apart from Chowdhury, leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, chief whip in Lok Sabha Kodikunnil Suresh and whip Gaurav Gogoi, among others, attended the meeting.
The Bill seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan escaping religious persecution there.
"We will oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Parliament as it is against our Constitution, secular ethos and culture," Chowdhury told reporters.
Suresh told PTI that "we will oppose this bill tooth and nail as it is anti-Constitutional and anti-secular".
He said it was also decided at the meeting that the party will raise the case of rape and setting ablaze of the woman in Unnao, who passed away on Friday night.
The party will voice concerns over the assaults on women in various parts of the country.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday will introduce the bill in the Lok Sabha.
In the afternoon, the home minister will introduce the Bill to amend the six-decade-old Citizenship Act and later in the day, it will be taken up for discussion and passage, according to the Lok Sabha's List of Business for Monday.
The Bill has triggered widespread protests in northeastern states with a large section of people and organisations opposing the Bill, saying it will nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for deportation of all illegal immigrants irrespective of religion.
The influential North East Students' Organisation (NESO) calling an 11-hour bandh on December 10 in the region.
Members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, till December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship, according to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), 2019.
To assuage feelings of tribals of the Northeast, where many feel that permanent settlement of illegal immigrants will disturb the region's demography, the government has made provisions under which the Bill will not be applicable in the Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime areas and those tribal regions that are governed under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.