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JNU mulls course on ‘Islamic Terrorism’, Academic Council splits

A move termed as “communal” and based on “grotesque propaganda” by the students union, the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Academic Council (AC) is learnt to have given in-principle approval to the study of ‘Islamic Terrorism’ by a new centre on national security.

According to Indian Express, during the Academic Council (AC) meeting held on Friday a proposal to set up the Centre for National Security Studies (CNSS) was given approval, with ‘Islamic Terrorism’ set to be taught there.

While the AC agenda mentioned it as one of the “key areas” of study, there is no clarity so far on whether it would be offered as an independent course, the report said.

Some AC members, including the JNU Students’ Union office-bearers, said it had been passed as a course and criticised the move.

Taking exception to what she said was a “communal” move, JNU Students Union president Geeta Kumari, said, “This grotesque propaganda of Islamophobia in the name of academic courses is problematic. It seems the RSS-BJP’s election propaganda material will be prepared through these courses rather than studying the nature of terrorism in general.”

Other members of the Academic Council also opposed the proposal to impart courses on ‘Islamic Terrorism’, arguing that it was communal in nature, Sudhir K Suthar, a special invitee to the 145th meeting of the Council, said.

“Many members opposed the topic ‘Islamic Terrorism’ so as to not club any religion with terrorism, and suggested to call the phenomenon ‘religious terrorism’,” Suthar, who is an office-bearer of the JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA), told PTI.

“There was a debate on the issue in the meeting with many members supporting it too, saying that it was a globally accepted phenomenon and majority of the cases (of terrorism) were associated with the religion,” another Academic Council member, who was present in the meeting, said.

“The chair passed the proposal and said the objections would be considered (later),” Suthar said.

The draft of the proposal was prepared by a four-member committee headed by Ajay Kumar Dubey, a professor of the Centre for African Studies.

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