Backing Palestinian Terrorist: IIT Students File Police Complaint Against Professor, Guest Speaker

Mumbai: Accusing a professor and a guest speaker of speaking in support of Palestinian terrorists during a virtual lecture, some students of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay have filed a police complaint against the duo.

The lecture, delivered on November 6, came amid the war between Israel and Palestine militant organisation Hamas.

In their complaint, the students have demanded action against the professor and the speaker.

Prof. Sharmistha Saha of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) department, IIT Bombay, had invited Sudhanva Deshpande as guest speaker at the event for an academic course ‘HS 835 Performance Theory & Praxis’.

Claiming that Saha had “inappropriately used her position to invite Deshpande (a radical leftist) as part of her course work HS 835”, the students alleged that the latter glorified Palestinian terrorists Zakaria Zubeidi and Ghassan Kanafani, and also defended armed rebellion.

“He not only admitted to having met Palestinian terrorist Zubeidi in 2015 but also defended and glorified violence and armed rebellion. Zubeidi is a known figure associated with the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an organisation designated as a terrorist entity by various governments and international organisations, including the United States, the European Union and Israel,” the compliant stated.

Expressing concern about the impact such statements could have on minds of young students and the potential security risks related to advocating ideologies linked to terrorism, the students urged police to investigate the matter.

The Times of Israel had reported that Zubeida was responsible for several acts of terrorism.

A video of Deshpande’s talk surfaced online, where he is heard saying that the Palestinian struggle is a ‘freedom struggle’. He also said there was no struggle in the “history of the world”, including India’s freedom movement, that was “not 100 per cent non-violent.”

Deshpande went on to say that the ongoing Israel-Hamas war is the “latest instance in a very long, 76-year history of dispossession of Palestinians from their own lands.”

Reacting to Deshpande’s lecture, Consul General of Israel to Midwest India Kobbi Shoshani wrote on X that it was “shocking” to read about screening of a “documentary of terrorists” at IIT Bombay.

“I am happy that alert students and office bearers caught them red-handed. I will be happy to visit there and share the real story,” Shoshani tweeted.

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