'Counter-terrorism course doesn't target any community'

Course on counter-terrorism doesn't target any community, is purely academic exercise: JNU professor

A section of JNU teachers and students has objected to the introduction of the course

Representative image. Credit: iStock Photo

Jawaharlal Nehru University Professor Arvind Kumar who has designed a course on counter-terrorism, which has come under criticism from a section of teachers and students, said it does not target any community and is a purely academic exercise.

A section of JNU teachers and students has objected to the introduction of the course, alleging it states that ''jihadi terrorism'' is the only form of ''fundamentalist-religious terrorism''.

The course, titled ''Counter Terrorism, Asymmetric Conflicts and Strategies for Cooperation among Major Powers'', also asserts that Communist regimes in the Soviet Union and China were the state-sponsors of terrorism that influenced radical Islamic states, according to them.

The course, an optional one, is for the students pursuing Master of Science dual-degree who choose to study international relations at the School of Engineering. The course was approved in the Academic Council meeting on August 17 and will come up for approval in the Executive Council meeting on September 2.

Kumar, the Chairperson of the Centre for Canadian, US and Latin American Studies, said that the curriculum is designed keeping India's perspective in mind.

He stated that it is based on India's and global experience in dealing with the issue of terrorism.

"How science and technology can help in countering terrorism is also a main part of the curriculum... This course has not at all targeted any community and has nothing to do with any political party," he said.

Calling the course an "absolute academic exercise", he said a "wrong narrative" is being set which is "not good for India" and will not serve any purpose.

"How India's experience has been all these decades as a victim of terrorism. The rest of the world has accepted India's predicament. Jihadi Terrorism is a manifestation of the Taliban. This has to be understood. An in-depth study on both global and regional terrorist organisations is needed from academics keeping all the biases away," he said.

While stressing that it is high time all the major powers come together and take the terrorism issue seriously, he said that how India can intensify all its efforts and evolve constructive counter-terrorism cooperation among major powers forms a major part of the curriculum.

"China and Russia abstaining from voting for the UNSC resolution on Taliban yesterday is a great pointer to understand how they have dealt in the past in promoting their interest. China has always vetoed in recognising Masood Azhar as a global terrorist not one time but on a number of occasions at the UNSC," he said.

JNU Teachers' Association secretary Moushumi Basu on Monday had said that the course should be withdrawn.

"A few years back, they (the university administration) had tried to do the same and the Delhi Minorities Commission had objected to it and it was withdrawn.... Such a course should not be taught and should be withdrawn. It's problematic."

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