‘Duped’ by varsity in US,Indians told to wear GPS tags

The students,mostly from Andhra,may be deported.

Written by Express News Service | Washington/new Delhi | Published:January 30, 2011 1:02 am

Duped by a “sham” California university,scores of Indian students are now enduring the ignominy of being forced to wear radio collars around their ankles so that US authorities can track their movements.

The students,mostly from Andhra Pradesh,may also be deported as authorities shut down Tri-Valley University in Pleasanton,a suburb in San Francisco Bay Area,on charges of massive immigration fraud.

Several students were interrogated by authorities and forced to wear GPS radio collars. “They (the students) were tagged with some sort of monitoring system placed on their ankles,” Jayaram Komati of the Telugu Association of North America told an Indian news channel. “But it is none of their (the students’) fault. The university is at fault as it violated some rules and regulations because of which all the students are being victimised.”

In a strong reaction on Saturday,India said the monitors should be removed,calling the act “unwarranted”. The Ministry of External Affairs said it has been conveyed to the US that the Indian students should be treated fairly as most of them are victims of the scam.

“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,” a ministry spokesperson said.

The official said India is seriously concerned about the impact of the US federal action against the Indian students. “A majority of the Indian students at the university had transferred from other US universities; about 100 students had obtained visas from US mission in India; and,a number of students in the US as dependents of their spouses,had enrolled in the University after taking the required authorisation,” the spokesperson said.

India said the students should be given the opportunity to clarify their case and allowed to return to India,if they wished. It also asked the US government to provide it full information on the affected students and to keep it informed as the investigation unfolds.

One of the duped students,who was not named by the channel,said the university was shut down all of a sudden.

“We don’t know what is happening with the university and the US government. We have been told we are illegal immigrants,” he was quoted as saying by the channel. “People from immigration office came and said they needed information about our college… they put tags on our ankles and said this is the tracking system.”

According to a complaint filed in a California court last week,the university helped foreign nationals illegally acquire immigration status. The students reportedly paid lakhs of rupees for getting visas and students’ work permits.

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