Expressing its concern over the detention of Indian students in connection with their enrolment in a fraudulent university in the United States, India on Saturday issued a demarche to the American Embassy and sought immediate consular access to them. US Embassy has also confirmed the same.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said India continues to closely monitor and take proactive measures to address the situation arising out of the detention of several Indian students in the US.
A spokesperson from the American Embassy said, “We can confirm that the embassy received a demarche from the Ministry of External Affairs about the Indian citizens detained in the United States this week.” “Our concern over the dignity and well-being of the detained students and the need for immediate consular access for Indian officials to the detainees was reiterated,” it said.
We are on it!
Mobilising resources and closely working with the US Government to address the situation arising out of the detention of Indian students in the US. Welfare of those detained is the highest priority for us. @SushmaSwaraj. For updates: https://t.co/C4vqDEkU0Q pic.twitter.com/RN2qVuopOc
— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) February 2, 2019
Out of the 130 foreign students arrested by US authorities till Thursday for enrolling at a fake university allegedly to stay in that country, 129 were Indian nationals, said US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.
Through the demarche, the MEA underlined to the US Embassy that the students, who might have been duped into enrolling in the ‘university’ should be treated differently from the recruiters who have duped them. “We have urged the US side to share full details and regular updates of the students with the government, to release them from detention at the earliest and not to resort to deportation against their will,” the ministry said. US officials said all of the students face deportation, besides being put under detention. Some have even been put under some kind of house arrest with a tracking device on their ankle, that prohibits them from moving out of a designated area in their neighbourhood.
The India mission and consulates have dropped in detention centres throughout the US to extend consular assistance to the detained students, the MEA said. “So far, about 30 Indian students have been contacted by our consular officers. Efforts to contact the remaining Indian students are continuing,” it said.
The ministry has also established a 24/7 helpline in the Indian Embassy in Washington for assistance. The helpline numbers are: +1-202-322-1190 and +1-202-340-2590 and email is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The fake university was opened by Homeland Security Investigations to trap those involved in illegal student visa racket. It has now been closed. The arrest of such a huge number of students has created panic among the Indian students. Federal investigators say the students who took admission in the university knew that the university programme was illegal.
(With inputs from PTI)