Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) professors have rubbished reports of the institute planning to introduce a course on ‘Islamist terrorism’ in its proposed Centre for National Security Studies (CNSS) and called it fake news.
Following the university’s 145th academic council (AC) meeting on 18 May, in which the proposal to set up the CNSS was put forth, the JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) along with a few teachers voiced concerns, calling the proposed course structure at the Centre an attempt at spreading “Islamophobic propaganda”.
A reputed news agency cited attendees of the AC meeting saying that the council planned to set up a CNSS which would have Islamist terrorism as part of its course structure; the news was carried in all major media outlets, bringing JNU, a hotbed of youth politics in India, into controversy again.
Following the report, various student unions, including the All India Students Federation (AISF) condemned the alleged move. “There can be no terrorism in the name of Islam or any religion. Is JNU trying to teach how to hate Muslims?” asked AISF president Syed Valiullah Khadr.
Sudhir K Sudhar, a member of the JNU Teachers’ Association, who attended the 18 May meeting, pointed out that the proposal was not to have any separate course titled ‘Islamist terrorism’, but to add the concept in its CNSS. “There was no proposal on a ‘Islamist terrorism’ course during the meeting; there was just a discussion about having the concept of ‘Islamist terrorism’ in CNSS; and there is a big difference between a course and a concept. The idea was also opposed by some members and has been put on hold”, he said.
He added, “During the meeting, it was also decided that if the concept gets a green signal, it will be introduced from 2019”. The proposed CNSS is being established with the aim of understanding terrorism and identifying its various causes, as terrorism continues to pose a major threat to India and several other nations.