‘Tying monitors to Indian students unwarranted’.

HYDERABAD: It took the tying of radio trackers — described by critics as cattle tags — to the ankles of Indian students enrolled at Tri-Valley University (TVU) in California for the Indian government to spring to their defence, four days after US federal investigators found that it was a sham university engaged in immigration fraud.

Several Indian students detained this week for questioning as part of the investigation of TVU were released but made to wear the tracking devices, according to students Express spoke to on the phone.

The Ministry of External Affairs reacted sharply, describing this treatment of the students unwarranted. A statement released by the ministry said it was seriously concerned about the impact of the US federal action and demanded removal of the trackers.

We have conveyed to the US authorities that the students, most of whom are victims themselves, must be treated fairly and reasonably and that the use of monitors on students is unwarranted, it said.

Some 1550 Indian students have been left in an indeterminate status after a US Immigration and Customs Enformcement (ICE) found the university, located at Pleasanton in the suburbs of San Francisco, to be engaged in immigration fraud.

Many of them are from Andhra Pradesh. They are said to have paid about $2,700 dollars per semester, having raised the money from loans taken at home.

In Pleasanton, TVU founder Susan Su attempted to pass the blame to the students.

She told a local TV channel that the university didnt force anyone to sign up. However, students Express spoke to said the university operates through agents working in Andhra Pradesh.

The MEA statement tried to put the onus of the students future on the US. The ministry said a majority of the Indian students had taken transfers to Tri-Valley from other US universities.

Approximately 100 of them had obtained visas from the US mission in India, and a number of students had enrolled in the university after taking the required authorization, it said.

The students should be given ample opportunity to clarify their position and present their case and those who wish to return to India should be allowed to do so voluntarily,” MEA said.

“And those students who have not violated any visa or immigration laws should be given an opportunity to adjust their status and, those who are eligible to seek transfer to other universities should be given adequate opportunity and time to do so.”

Source : Indian Express

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