Asked by O.P. Jindal University to 'Express Regret,' Achin Vanaik Stands by Lecture on Palestine

“The idea that I am pro-terrorism is absolute nonsense. My words were absolutely taken out of context,” Vanaik said.

New Delhi: Critically acclaimed writer and former Delhi University professor Achin Vanaik, whose recent lecture on Palestine at O.P. Jindal University got mired in controversy, has said that he stands by his lecture.

The Haryana-based private university had asked Vanaik to “express regret” over his remarks during a closed lecture titled ‘The History and Politics of the Palestinian Present’ held on November 1. Vanaik told the Hindu that he had informed the university he stood by what he had said in the lecture, and regretted its misinterpretation and the confusion that had arisen as a result.

After his lecture, the Israeli Ambassador to India Naor Gilon had written to the founding vice-chancellor university, C. Raj Kumar, saying that, “I cannot understand why an event delegitimising the State of Israel was hosted at the University.”

The university’s registrar, Dabiru Sridhar Patnaik, subsequently wrote to Vanaik on November 13, saying that his remarks on Hindutva and it being anti-Muslim were unnecessary and objectionable.

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Vanaik said that, “When you prioritise one particular community, this is in contrast with another conception of nationalism, which in India is that of composite nationalism.”

He added that many had recorded his lecture on Palestine and posted some parts online. “The idea that I am pro-terrorism is absolute nonsense. My words were absolutely taken out of context,” he said. “I would want to clarify here that I do consider Hamas’s action as a terrorist action and criticise it,” he added.

Earlier this month, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay had cancelled Vanaik’s proposed talk expected to throw light on the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict and the repercussions of the recent violence in the region, the Indian Express reported.