The JNUSU has strongly objected to the Academic Council of the University passing a proposal which looks to set up a centre for National Security that would include a course on ‘Islamic Terrorism’. Apart from Islamic Terrorism, the centre will also cover the military modernization of China and Pakistan, defence economics, nuclear proliferation and data arms control and disarmament, civil-military relations, Naxalism and other aspects.
JNU Students Union President Geeta Kumari said, “In a deeply problematic and shocking move the JNU VC also allowed the tabling of a course/topic on ‘Islamic Terrorism’ under the Centre for National Security Studies.” She added, “This grotesque propaganda of Islamophobia in the name of academic courses is deeply problematic. It seems the RSS-BJP’s election propaganda material will be prepared through these courses rather than studying the nature of terrorism in general.”
Suthar, an office-bearer of JNU Teachers Association, told PTI, “Many members opposed the topic ‘Islamic Terrorism’ so as to not club any religion with terrorism, and suggested to call the phenomenon ‘religious terrorism’.” Another Council member present at the meeting said however, “There was a debate on the issue in the meeting with many members supporting it too, saying that it was a globally accepted phenomenon and a majority of the cases (of terrorism) were associated with the religion.”
Students from the JNUSU have a tradition of raising strong objections and being remarkably intolerant to ideas they do not endorse. Recently, they objected to the screening of a movie on the illegal conversions in Kerala at the campus which soon took a violent turn with lots of people getting hurt and a car was allegedly run over a security guard by ex-JNUSU President Mohit Pandey. During another protest, the Dean claimed that he was abused and manhandled by the students he had invited for a discussion. The students also saw fit to protest against the decision to enforce compulsory attendance at the University. They claimed the decision would destroy “JNU culture” and accused the Vice Chancellor of being a BJP-RSS man.
It is unclear yet whether the JNUSU will organize another protest to give voice to their objection. However, if we are to go by past precedent, it seems only a matter of time when protests ensue over the matter. As per PTI, Ajay Kumar Dubey, head of the committee that prepared the draft of the proposal assured that “all suggestions including objections will be considered by the committee.”