New Delhi: The JNU row has gained traction at an online petition forum where people are actively debating various sides of the issue and putting forth their opinions.

Two petitions that received the most number of signatures were started last Friday. They present both ends of the spectrum of the debate and carry statements of intellectuals, educators, artists and students in support of their arguments.

A petition initiated by Prateek Kataria asked the ‘commission of inquiry’ to punish the students allegedly involved in anti-national sloganeering at an event held in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on February 9. About 5,800 people have signed it. The petition criticises the event and terms the slogans a “threat to the unity, sovereignty and diversity of India”.

“Such school of thought will lead to the growth of anti-national sentiments in the country and also impact the peace and harmony within the nation. These students should be punished strongly,” it says.

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A petition to counter this one calls for ‘No to police action in JNU’. Started by Shuddabrata Sengupta it drew about 8,000 signatures. Noted personalities like Romila Thapar, Jeet Thayil, Sanjay Kak and Ashish Nandy gave their written support to it.

“The only way to counter such incidents, when they occur, is through a deepening of dialogue, not through police action. The police have no business to enter places of learning and harass students when there had been no breach of peace,” the petition says.

Yet another petition launched by Rupali Samuel demanding “disciplinary action against violent lawyers” got 2,000 supporters. It urged the chairman of the Delhi Bar Council to take immediate suo motu action and institute proceedings against the lawyers who resorted to violence at the Patiala House Courts compelx.

“Under Section 35 of the Advocates Act, 1961, the Delhi Bar Council must refer the issue to disciplinary committee if it has any reason to believe that a lawyer on its roll has been guilty of professional or other misconduct,” it says.

There are some other petitions too, including one asking for withdrawal of government subsidy to the JNU. The one with the highest support got more than 2,300 signatures. To counter it, JNU alumni have started a petition supporting subsidised education at the institution, receiving 1800 signatures so far.

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