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Swamy article hurtful, but free speech sacred: Harvard

Harvard University, the US's oldest higher-learning institution, has defended Hindutva advocate Subramanian Swamy's "right to free speech" in response to a petition to oust Swamy as summer instructor for his recent article considered hateful towards Muslims.

delhi Updated: Aug 06, 2011 01:18 IST
Zia Haq
Zia Haq
Hindustan Times

Harvard University, the US's oldest higher-learning institution, has defended Hindutva advocate Subramanian Swamy's "right to free speech" in response to a petition to oust Swamy as summer instructor for his recent article considered hateful towards Muslims.

Swamy continues teaching his summer Economics course, which concludes this week. In India, he leads the Janata Party.

A statement from Harvard spokesperson Jeff Neal said Swamy's views were "distressful to many" and "understandably so" but the university upholds the right to free speech.

In a July 16 op-ed on combating terror in the DNA

newspaper, Swamy proposed disenfranchising Muslims unless they proudly declared their alleged Hindu ancestry and declaring India a Hindu state, apart from demolishing 300 mosques.

Dean Donald H Pfister, in an earlier statement, had said Harvard authorities would give "serious attention" to a petition from over 250 Harvard affiliates to terminate Swamy, suggesting some kind of disciplinary investigation.

Harvard did not explicitly say if it investigated Swamy, but the spokesperson's statement suggests it did not consider such an investigation necessary.

First Published: Aug 06, 2011 01:16 IST