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‘Tagging Indian students unacceptable’
Published on 30 Jan. 2011 10:50 PM IST
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India on Sunday slammed the US authorities for tagging some Indian students duped by a ‘sham’ university in California.
“The way some of the students have been treated by authorities is unacceptable,” External Affairs Minister SM Krishna told reporters here.
“In the opinion of the government of India the developments were unavoidable and adding insult to injury,” he said.
Krishna told the US that it “must realise the tremendous stakes involved in higher education, in interaction between our two countries in higher education.”
The foreign minister promised legal and consular help to the students.
Some of the Indian students duped by the ‘sham’ Tri-Valley University have been forced to wear radio-trackers around their ankles. This has triggered a wave of anger through the Indian community.
On Saturday India said the use of monitors was ‘’unwarranted’’ and raised the issue with the US deputy ambassador in New Delhi.
Some 1,555 students of Tri-Valley University, 90 percent of them from India, mostly Andhra Pradesh, face the prospect of deportation following the closure of the university in Pleasanton on charges of selling student visas.
Some of the students who approached Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to seek help were placed under ISAP (Intense Supervision and Appearance Programme) and put in removal proceedings.
A number of students have already been interviewed by ICE agents, most have been questioned and released but a few have been required to wear ankle bracelets, Jayaram Komati of the Telugu Association of North America (TANA) told a news agency.
Throughout Saturday, Indian television channels had displaying visuals of Indian students with radio trackers around one ankle, which was apparently done to monitor their movements.
India protested the measure. “We have conveyed to the US authorities that the students, most of who are victims themselves, must be treated fairly and reasonably, and that the use of monitors on a group of students, who were detained and later released with monitors in accordance with US laws, is unwarranted and should be removed,” said Indian external affairs ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash in New Delhi.
US Deputy Chief of Mission Donald Lu was called to the external ministry and apprised of India’s concerns over the measure.
Time running out for duped TVU students
Hundreds of Indian students, duped by a California-based “sham” university, are frantically knocking at the doors of colleges begging for admission in their desperate attempt to save their academic careers and avoid deportation back home.
These students, said to be around 1,500, were studying at the California-based Tri Valley University, which was shut down by the federal authorities last week after investigation revealed that this relatively new academic institution had indulged in massive and wire fraud and helped foreign nationals illegally acquire immigration status.
Following a raid at the University building in Pleasanton, California, federal authorities swooped down on its students -- 95 percent of who are from India, mostly from Andhra Pradesh -- for questioning and interrogation.
Immigration attorneys and Indian American community leaders who have been helping these students said that scores of them have been a detained, released on bond, and many of them have been installed with Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (radio tags).
“Time is fast running out for these students,” said Ram Mohan Konda of the American Telugu Association.
“These students do not know where to go. They are being asked for thousands of dollars in bond and at the same time they have to join any university as soon as possible so as to maintain their visa status and complete their studies,” Konda said.
Konda, who has been in personal contact with a number of these students, said that they are not able to get any fresh admission because the SEVIS has been blocked.
Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) of the Department of Homeland Security is the web based programme to track the foreign students in the US.
Until it is active, no university and academic institution can admit any foreign students to their campus.
Also since the fall classes have already begun, it would be difficult for these students to get admission into any college or universities after a week or so, Konda said, adding that authorities have to act fast otherwise most of these students would be left with no other option but to go back voluntarily or be deported.
In some cases students are being asked for bond deposits running into thousands of dollars and a large number of them have been served with Notice to Appear (which is considered as the first step towards the start of deportation process).
Raj Akula, a Texas-based attorney, said that he knows at least 20 such students who have been subject to detention. While many of them have been released on bail, a few of them are still in the detention centres as they have not been able to furnish the bond money.
These students are spread across the country -- Ohio, Illinois, Washington and Pennsylvania.
One of the students was released early this week from a Ohio detention centre only after he furnished a bond of a USD 22,000, Akola said refraining from identifying the student, who do not want to be named in the press.

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