Contents of a new course on counter-terrorism for engineering students at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) claim that “jihadi terrorism” is the only form of “fundamentalist-religious terrorism” and that Communist governments in the erstwhile Soviet Union and China were “predominant state-sponsors of terrorism” and have influenced the terrorism models of “radical Islamic states”.
The optional course, meant for engineering graduates pursuing an MS with specialisation in International Relations is titled ‘Counter Terrorism, Asymmetric Conflicts and Strategies for Cooperation among Major Powers’ and will be offered when the online monsoon semester start on September 20.
While the course was cleared by the university’s Academic Council, the varsity’s decision-making body on academic syllabus, on August 17, the JNU Teacher’s Association alleges that no discussion happened before it was passed.
“Fundamentalist – religious inspired terrorism has played a very critical and dominant role in the spawning of terrorist violence in the beginning of the 21st century. The perverse interpretation of the Koran has resulted in the rapid proliferation of jihadi cultist violence that glorifies death by terror in suicidal and homicidal variants,” reads a module titled ‘Fundamentalist-religious Terrorism and its Impact’.
“The exploitation of the cyberspace by the radical Islamic religious clerics has resulted in the electronic propagation of jihadi terrorism world over. Online electronic dissemination of Jihadi terrorism has resulted in the spurt of violence in non-Islamic societies that are secular and are now increasingly vulnerable to violence that (is) on the increase,” reads another paragraph.
A module on “state-sponsored terrorism” alleges that the erstwhile Soviet Union and China have been sponsoring terrorism on their soil by aiding ultras and terrorists.
“Terrorism has always a geographical base and support havens for its operations. State sponsored terrorism has been largely during the ideological war between the West and the Soviet Union and China. The Soviet Union and China have been predominant state-sponsors of terrorism and they have been heavily involved in terms of their intelligence agencies training, aiding and providing logistical support to Communist ultras and terrorists,” it reads.
The module goes on to argue that the same model has been emulated by the radical Islamic states who now aid Islamic terror groups.
“In the post-Cold War period, the trend has been well adapted by several radical Islamic states that have mirrored the earlier tactical strategies of the Communist powers and have continued to aid and arm the various terrorist groups,” the chapter said.
Ruchir Gupta, Dean of the School of Engineering told Indian Express that Arvind Kumar, the chairperson of the Centre for Canadian, US and Latin American Studies had pitched the course and as both the departments run a joint programme, the School of Engineering had green-lighted the course.
“We have a joint programme with SIS, they asked us to pass this course, so we passed it. I’m not an expert on international relations,” Gupta told IE.
Kumar told IE that he did design the course and had said that Islamic terrorism was the sole form religious terrorism because it “is a world accepted thing.” “After Taliban, it has gained momentum now,” he added.
Kumar also said that he has not come across any other form of religious terrorism.
On the matter of Soviet Union and China being “state-sponsors of terrorism,” Kumar said the term (state-sponsored terrorism) is difficult to define and can be included in only after there is evidence on the same.
Ashwini Mohapatra, Dean of School of International Studies told IE that he had no role in the designing of the course.
Mohapatra was unavailable when The Federal tried to reach him over the phone.