Upon the approval of the academic council, the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) recently introduced an elective course on counter-terrorism for engineering students pursuing a dual degree programme. The course states that “Jihadi terrorism” is the only form of “fundamentalist-religious terrorism”, and that they have been historically supported by countries with a communist background, such as China and the Soviet Union.
It states, “Terrorism has always a geographical base and support havens for its operations. State-sponsored terrorism has been largely during the ideological war between the West and the Soviet Union and China. The Soviet Union and China have been predominant state-sponsors of terrorism and they have been heavily involved in terms of their intelligence agencies training, aiding and providing logistical support to Communist ultras and terrorists,”
As soon as the contents of the subject came to light, several opposition parties lodged their protest against it. As the Communists were called out in the course, Communist Party of India (CPI) Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Viswam, especially took offence and wrote a letter to Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, objecting to the ‘prejudiced’ & inaccurate nature of the material.
He wrote in the letter, “I write this letter to put forth my strong objection regarding the prejudiced and inaccurate nature of material being included in a course titled “Counter-Terrorism, Asymmetric Conflicts and Strategies for Cooperation among Major Powers” by the Jawaharlal Nehru University (UNU) as part of the newly introduced Engineering Programme. It is deeply unfortunate that higher education is being used as a platform to communalise and politicise geo-political issues through the presentation of half-truths and academically dishonest information.”
CPI Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Viswam writes to Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, raising objection to 'prejudiced & inaccurate nature of material being included in JNU course titled Counter-Terrorism, Asymmetric Conflicts & Strategies for Cooperation among Major Powers' pic.twitter.com/AfvLNUIC0w
— ANI (@ANI) August 31, 2021
Viswam said that the BJP, inspired by the RSS, is trying to promote hatred and trying to impose a syllabus that preaches racial supremacy. While Viswam appeared to be against introducing the religion angle to terrorism, the CPI leader in the same breath also asked as to why there was no mention of “Hindu terror” in the course.
One of the modules of the new course, titled ‘Fundamentalist-religious Terrorism and its Impact’, reads: “Fundamentalist – religious-inspired terrorism has played a very critical and dominant role in the spawning of terrorist violence at the beginning of the 21st century. The perverse interpretation of the Koran has resulted in the rapid proliferation of jihadi cultist violence that glorifies death by terror in suicidal and homicidal variants.”
Professor Arvind Kumar, Professor and Chairperson of the School of International Studies, who designed the course stated that the course was needed at this time when Afghanistan was being ravaged by the Taliban. He said, “Jihad is a global challenge. At a time when Afghanistan has been occupied by the Taliban, nothing could have been a more contemporary topic than this,”
The Professor also added, “The fight against terrorism is an important topic from India’s perspective. At a time when many countries of the world are not paying as much attention to India’s security needs as necessary, this topic becomes even more important,”
If the proposal for the said JNU course is approved by the Executive Council as well, the optional paper will be offered to the students in the new session starting from September 20.