People who are protesting peacefully against one law cannot be called “traitors” or “anti-nationals”, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court has said. 

The high court’s order came on a plea by Maharashtra resident Iftekhar Shaikh, who asked the court to allow him and others to sit on a protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in Maharashtra’s Beed district.

A district magistrate and the police had refused permission to Mr Shaikh, 45, to hold the protest.

“The submissions made show that there will be no question of disobedience of provisions of CAA by such agitation. Thus, this court is expected to consider the right of such persons to start agitation in a peaceful way. This court wants to express that such persons cannot be called as traitors, anti-nationals only because they want to oppose one law.  It will be act of protest and only against the government for the reason of CAA,” a division bench of Justices TV Nalavade and MG Sewlikar said on Thursday.

“India got freedom due to agitations which were non-violent and this path of non-violence is followed by the people of this country till this date. We are fortunate that most of the people of this country still believe in non-violence. In the present matter also the petitioners and companions want to agitate peacefully to show their protest,” the court said in the order.

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