Nineteen students from Hyderabad, Krishna and Guntur districts were prevented by Air India staff from boarding a flight to San Francisco Sunday night as, officials said, two universities in which they had taken admission had been blacklisted by the US government.
Sources at the airport said that the 19 students had taken admission at Silicon Valley University in San Jose and Northwestern Polytechnic University at Fremont, California.
“Our colleagues in the US informed us that students arriving there to join the two universities were being sent back by US authorities from the airport itself as the two varsities have been blacklisted. Two batches of students who had travelled earlier were detained for several hours at airports in the US, their student visas revoked and they deported. To avoid such humiliation for the other students travelling on Sunday, we decided not to let them board,’’ an official said.
Air India has also asked its ticket counters and sales staff not to issue tickets to students travelling to California to join either of the two universities.
The students got into an altercation with the airline staff when they were stopped from boarding. Air India has offered full refund and waived all charges such as cancellation and rescheduling fee.
“Air India received a communication on December 19, 2015, from the US Customs and Border Protection agency that two universities namely Silicon Valley, San Jose, California and North Western Polytechnic College, Fremont, CA are under scrutiny and students who arrived into San Francisco were not allowed to enter the US and were deported back to India,” an Air India statement said.
US Consulate officials in Hyderabad said they are trying to get information on the episode. “As soon as we have new information, we will get back to you immediately,” an email reply from the US Consulate said.