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Delhi minorities commission issues notice to JNU on proposed ‘Islamic terrorism’ course

The JNU Academic Council “passed” a proposal to set up a Centre for National Security Studies under which there would be a course on “Islamic terrorism”, said a professor who attended the meeting said last week.

india Updated: May 22, 2018 14:49 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi Minorities Commission,Jawaharlal Nehru University,Islamic terrorism course
The DMC has asked the JNU administration to reply whether there is any concept paper or proposal to include a course on “Islamic Terror” in the proposed “Centre for National Security Studies”, and demanded a copy of it.(HT Photo)

The Delhi Minorities Commission on Tuesday issued a notice to the registrar of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) seeking to know the reason behind a varsity proposal to start a course on ‘Islamic terrorism’.

Taking suo motu cognisance of reports about the proposed course, the Commission has asked the registrar to explain on what basis the course on “Islamic terror” is being started by the university, said Zafarul Islam Khan, the commission’s chairman.

The JNU Academic Council “passed” a proposal to set up a Centre for National Security Studies under which there would be a course on “Islamic terrorism”, said a professor who attended the meeting said last week. JNUSU in a statement on May 18 had alleged that during the 145th Academic Council (AC) meeting held the same day, the JNU V-C allowed the “tabling of a course on ‘Islamic Terrorism’ under the proposed National Security Studies special centre.”

According to the committee’s report, shared with Hindustan Times by JNUSU joint secretary Shubhanshu Singh, the panel was formed to finalise modalities, after it was decided to establish such a centre. HT could not independently verify the report.

The report lists ‘Islamic Terrorism’ as a key area of work for the centre, rather than a course (as claimed by JNUSU), along with over 20 other areas, which include ‘Insurgency’, ‘Naxalism’, and ‘Military Modernisation of China and Pakistan’.

The DMC has asked the JNU administration to reply whether there is any concept paper or proposal to include a course on “Islamic Terror” in the proposed “Centre for National Security Studies”, and demanded a copy of it.

“Has the current administration of the JNU considered the implications of introducing this subject in the campus on its students and on the broader society outside?,” the Commission has questioned.

It has also sought details of the proposed course and areas covered by it, methodology, reference books and works to be followed, experts who will teach and undertake research on the subject.

The commission has also asked the JNU to provide minutes of the Academic Council meeting and the list of members who attended it. The JNU administration has been asked to file its reply to these questions by June 5, Khan said.

Ajay Dubey, the chairperson of the committee which submitted its report , did not confirm nor deny the plans for the centre last week, but said, “Terrorism and religion are not linked. There is no proposal for a course on Islamic terrorism.”

“Islamic terrorism is going to be just one of the focus areas for research at the centre. Whether it exists or not, only research can tell,” said Amita Singh, acting chairperson of the Centre for the Study of Law & Governance, had said.

The proposed course has been opposed by sections of teachers and students at the JNU.

“In a deeply problematic and shocking move, the JNU V-C also allowed the tabling of a course/topic on ‘Islamic terrorism’ under the Centre for National Security Studies,” JNU Students Union president Geeta Kumari had said.

(with PTI inputs)

First Published: May 22, 2018 14:48 IST