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CPI MP Binoy Viswam writes to Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan against JNU’s new counter-terrorism course

The course asserts that “Jihadi terrorism’ is the only form of “fundamentalist-religious terrorism”, and that the erstwhile Soviet Union and China were the “predominant state-sponsors of terrorism” that influenced “radical Islamic states”.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: August 31, 2021 12:16:04 pm
The course asserts that “Jihadi terrorism” is the only form of “fundamentalist-religious terrorism”, and that the erstwhile Soviet Union and China were the “predominant state-sponsors of terrorism” that influenced “radical Islamic states”. (File Photo)

Communist Party of India (CPI) Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Viswam has written to Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan against the new course on counter-terrorism to be taught to engineering students at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), alleging it was “communalise and politicise geopolitical issues”. He said the course must not be allowed to be taught.

The Indian Express had reported Monday that the course titled ‘Counter Terrorism, Asymmetric Conflicts and Strategies for Cooperation among Major Powers’ was passed in the Academic Council, allegedly without discussion, on August 17. The course asserts that “Jihadi terrorism’ is the only form of “fundamentalist-religious terrorism”, and that the erstwhile Soviet Union and China were the “predominant state-sponsors of terrorism” that influenced “radical Islamic states”.

“I write this letter to put forth my strong objection regarding the prejudiced and inaccurate nature of material being included in a course titled ‘Counter Terrorism, Asymmetric Conflicts and Strategies for Cooperation among Major Powers’ by the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) as part of the newly introduced Engineering Programme. It is deeply unfortunate that higher education is being used as a platform to communalise and politicise geo-political issues through the presentation of half-truths and academically dishonest information,” Viswam wrote Tuesday.

“Distorting history in an attempt to serve the vested political and communal interests of a certain ideology, the contents of the course make incredulous assertions pertaining to global terrorism and political regimes that have supported it. The statements in this counter-terrorism module include assertions such as “jihadi terrorism” being the only form of “fundamentalist-religious terrorism” and Communist regimes of the Soviet Union and China as the “predominant state-sponsors of terrorism” that influenced “radical Islamic states”. These statements are not only historically inaccurate they are also deeply prejudiced and politically motivated,” he wrote.

Viswam said those who drafted and passed the syllabus acted in an “irresponsible manner” which “goes against the very ethos of education and critical thinking that has been the hallmark of eminent institutions like the Jawaharlal Nehru University”.

“I must also point out that this is not the first attempt to communalise and politicise history through its re-writing or inaccurate representation. As Education Minister of India and a Constitutional representative it is incumbent on you to ensure that the centres of knowledge are not used for such malignant agendas,” Viswam wrote.

“The decision on the course was passed without any discussions involving faculty members. Given the divisive nature of content and serious ramifications of such inaccurate information, I appeal to you to immediately intervene in this matter and ensure that the University undertakes a comprehensive review of this course material through a committee of senior professors who are experts on this subject matter and ensure such biased curriculum is not allowed,” he said.

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