Counter-terrorism course does not target any community, it is purely academic practice: JNU professor – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Jawaharlal Nehru University professor Arvind Kumar, who has designed a course on counter-terrorism that has drawn criticism from some teachers and students, says it does not target any community and is a purely academic exercise.

A section of JNU teachers and students objected to the introduction of the course, alleging that “jihadi terrorism” was the only form of “fundamentalist-religious terrorism”.

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Entitled “Strategies for Cooperation for Major Counterterrorism, Asymmetric Conflicts and Strategies,” the course further emphasizes that communist regimes in the Soviet Union and China were state sponsors of terrorism that they believed influenced extremist Islamic states. The course is an alchemist, Master of Science dual degree for students who prefer to study international relations at the School of Engineering. The course was approved at the Academic Council meeting on 1 August and will come up for approval at the Executive Council meeting on 2 September.

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Kumar, chairperson of the Center for Canadian, US and Latin American Studies, said the curriculum was designed with India’s perspective in mind.

He said it was based on India’s and global experience in tackling the problem of terrorism.

“How science and technology can help fight terrorism is also a major part of the curriculum … This course does not target any community at all and has nothing to do with any political party,” he said.

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Describing the course as an “absolute academic exercise”, he said a “misrepresentation” was being set which was “not good for India” and would not serve any purpose.

“What is India’s experience as a victim of terrorism all these decades. The rest of the world has accepted India’s position. Jihadi terrorism is a manifestation of the Taliban. It needs to be understood.

Stressing that it was time for all the major powers to come together and take the issue of terrorism seriously, he said a key part of the curriculum was how India could intensify all its efforts and build constructive counter-terrorism cooperation among the major powers.

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“China and Russia abstained from voting for a UN Security Council resolution, which is a great indicator of how they have acted in the past to advance their interests.

JNU Teachers Association secretary Mausumi Basu said on Monday that the course should be withdrawn.

“A few years ago, they (university administration) tried to do the same thing and the Delhi Minorities Commission objected to it and it was withdrawn …. Such courses should not be taught and should be withdrawn. It is problematic.”

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