Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Saturday termed the new Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) a "discriminatory and divisive" law whose "sinister" purpose was to divide people on religious lines, and said that the National Population Register (NPR) in form and content was "disguised NRC (National Register of Citizens)".
Addressing a meeting of the Congress Working Committee or CWC - the top decision-making body of the party - in Delhi, Ms Gandhi also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah over the citizenship law, accusing them of making provocative statements.
"The CAA is a discriminatory and divisive law. The sinister purpose of the law is clear to every patriotic, tolerant and secular Indian: it is to divide the Indian people on religious lines," she said in her opening remarks.
She also spoke about the protests across the country, saying that thousands of young men and women, especially students, have realized the "grave harm" that implementation of the new Citizenship law will cause.
"The situation in some states is alarming, turning the states into police states, notably in Uttar Pradesh and the Union Territory of Delhi. We are appalled by the police excesses and use of brute force in many towns of UP, in Jamia Millia, in the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Banaras Hindu University, Allahabad University, Delhi University, Gujarat University, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru," Ms Gandhi said.
"We demand that a comprehensive high-powered commission be constituted to enquire into the incidents connected with the anti-CAA protests and give justice to the affected persons," she added.
Also criticising the National Population Register (NPR), Ms Gandhi told top leaders of the Congress not to be under any illusion that it was a "benign exercise".
"In form and content, NPR 2020 is a disguised NRC," she said.
Ms Gandhi also hit out at the government over the state of the economy and the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
"It is a matter of anguish and concern that the people in Jammu and Kashmir continue to be denied their fundamental rights while the Government makes farcical claims of normalcy and arranges guided tours of diplomats," she said.
While Rahul Gandhi was not present at Saturday's CWC meeting, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and top leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, AK Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel, Mallikarjun Kharge, Ambika Soni and K C Venugopal attended the meet.
The party demanded immediate withdrawal of the CAA and stopping the process of the NPR.