On Friday (October 29), the administration of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) cancelled a webinar on Jammu and Kashmir after the event referred to the Union territory as ‘Indian occupied Kashmir.’ The webinar was organised by the Centre for Women’s Studies (CWS).
As per reports, the webinar was organised without seeking the permission of the varsity administration. A professor of anthropology and gender studies named Ather Zia was scheduled to speak at the event. The contentious webinar was titled, ‘Gendered Resistance and Fresh Challenges in Post-2019 Kashmir.’ It was accompanied by a notice, which read, “This talk will draw and build upon the ethnography of gendered resistance to Indian occupation in Kashmir.”
Webinar titled ‘Gendered Resistance&Fresh Challenges in Post-2019 Kashmir’ was to be organised by Centre for Women Studies. The JNU admin instructed the event to be cancelled: JNU VC MJ Kumar— ANI (@ANI) October 29, 2021
The Notice for webinar mentioned- ‘gendered resistance to Indian occupation in Kashmir’ pic.twitter.com/dhI2OmRcm3
The poster of the event, which was scheduled to commence from 8:30 pm on Friday, had gone viral on social media. When netizens objected to it, the JNU administration sprung into action and cancelled the webinar.
In a statement released by JNU Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar, he stated, “As soon as it came to our notice that an online webinar titled ‘Gendered Resistance and Fresh Challenges in Post-2019 Kashmir’ was to be organised at 8.30 pm by Centre for Women Studies, the administration immediately instructed the faculty member organising the event to cancel it. The programme was cancelled forthwith.”
He further added, “The faculty member did not seek permission of the administration before planning such an event… This is a highly objectionable and a provocative subject, which questions the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country. JNU cannot be a platform to this kind of very questionable webinars. The matter is being inquired into.”
In a tweet, the JNU Teachers’ Forum condemned the organisation of such an event and also opposed the ‘anti-national stand’ taken by the Centre of Women’s Studies. “JNU must take action against those involved in organizing it,” it added.
A webinar in JNU declares “Indian occupation in Kashmir”. JNUTF strongly opposes to such anti national stand taken by the Centre of Women’s Studies. JNU must take action against those involved in organizing it. @narendramodi @AmitShah @PMOIndia @HMOIndia @DelhiPolice pic.twitter.com/LYLXLDcmvV— JNU Teachers’ Forum (@jnutf19) October 29, 2021
Following the cancellation of the contentious webinar, the Centre for Women’s Studies in JNU put out a one-line statement on Facebook. “The talk by Ather Zia scheduled for today has been cancelled. More information will be provided later,” it added.
Ather Zia is a Professor of anthropology and gender studies at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley in the USA. She is a columnist at the propaganda news portal, The Caravan and a poet. She had also written a book titled, ‘Resisting Disappearance: Military Occupation and Women’s Activism in Kashmir’. She is also the co-founder of Critical Kashmir Studies and the founder of Kashmir Lit.