New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday accused BJP-led government of 'brute repression' against students, youth and citizens protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act and said the legislation was 'discriminatory' and the proposed nationwide NRC will particularly hurt the poor and vulnerable.
"The Indian National Congress expresses its deep anguish and concern over the brute repression unleashed by the BJP government against the students, youth and citizens across the country," she said in a video message.
Gandhi said the if National Register of Citizens (NRC) is implemented, the poor and vulnerable will have to stand in queues like at the time of demonetisation and prove their citizenship.
"The Citizenship Amendment Act is discriminatory and the proposed nationwide NRC will particularly hurt the poor and vulnerable. Like at the time of 'notebandi' (demonetisation), they will have to stand in line to prove their and their ancestors' citizenship," she said.
Gandhi said the people's apprehensions were real and legitimate and the struggle against the legislation was 'just.'
"The Congress assures the people of India that it is fully committed to stand up and defend their fundamental rights and uphold the foundational values of our Constitution," said she.
The Congress chief accused the BJP-led government of pursuing "divisive, anti-people" policies.
"There have been spontaneous protests in the universities, IITs, IIMs and other leading academic institutions throughout the country against the divisive agenda and anti-people policies of the BJP government," said Gandhi.
She said the people have a right to raise their voice against wrong decisions and policies of the government and register their concerns in a democracy.
"Equally, it is the duty of the government to listen to the citizens and address their concerns. The BJP government has shown utter disregard for people's voices and chosen to use brute force to suppress dissent. This is unacceptable in a democracy," she said.
Gandhi condemned actions of the government and expressed "its solidarity with the students and citizens of India in their just struggle".