Tying monitor to Indian students unwarranted

New Delhi: India on Saturday reacted sharply to the action of the US authorities to tie a tracker on Indian students duped by a California-based "sham" university, terming it as "unwarranted" and demanded its removal.

The government also said it was "seriously concerned" about the impact of the US federal action against Tri Valley University (TVU) in California on the Indian students enrolled at the now-closed university.

"We have conveyed to the US authorities that the students, most of who are victims, 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," an External Affairs Ministry statement said here.

A majority of the Indian students at the university had taken transfer from other US universities. Approximately 100 students had obtained visas from the US mission in India and a number of students in the US, as dependents of their spouses, had enrolled in the uUniversity 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.

"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," the statement said.

The Consulate General of India in San Francisco and the Ministry of External Affairs are in touch with the Indian students and US authorities, it said, adding India has also asked the US government to provide full information on the affected students.

It has also asked the US to keep India informed about the investigation as it unfolds, as well as, on the action being taken against the promoters of the university and others involved in perpetrating the fraud.

The Ministry and our Mission/Post in the USA would do everything possible to safeguard the legitimate interests of the Indian students and render all necessary consular assistance, it said.

The principal investigator into the case has provided the Indian Consulate in San Francisco a list of Immigration Attorneys who are prepared to guide/advise the students free of charge on immigration procedures.

This list is available on the website of the Indian Consulate in San Francisco. The Consulate has also put up a link on its home page to receive details of all ex-TVU students present in the US.

The preliminary information provided by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the Indian Consulate is that they propose to bring out a detailed advisory for all students of TVU, sometime next week, which will be available on its website, the MEA statement said.

It will provide guidance to eligible students about what they can do to seek admission in other schools.

ICE has advised that all students of TVU, wherever they are, should report to the nearest ICE office for instructions.

Those students who are now in India with TVU-sponsored visas should not travel to the US with that visa and can apply to other universities and, if admitted, could apply afresh for new visas, the statement said.

Duped by the authorities of TVU, which has been shut down, hundreds of Indian students, mostly from Andhra Pradesh, faced deportation back home after having lost their student visa status.

According to a federal complaint filed in a California court last week, the university helped foreign nationals illegally acquire immigration status. The students are reported to have paid lakhs of rupees for obtaining a visa for their category and also for students` work permit.