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Radio tags on students anger India
Govt promises all help to victims of sham US varsity
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 29
New Delhi today took strong exception to the American police action of ordering the nearly 1,400 Indian students affected by the Tri Valley University fraud to put radio tags on their legs in order to track them.

“This is a very serious matter… The Government of India takes a very serious view of it,’’ Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi told reporters here.

Agreeing with a suggestion that the action amounted to the violation of human rights of these students, the minister said he had asked the Indian Embassy in Washington and the Indian Consulate in San Francisco to verify the situation.

New Delhi is quite concerned about the welfare of these students, a majority of whom hail from Andhra Pradesh. The students face the prospect of deportation from the US after the authorities raided the university in the Silicon Valley on charges of an immigration fraud.

Ravi asserted that the Indian students were in the US on valid visas and they deserved to be treated properly. He said he was also trying to find out whether these students had availed the services of some agents who misled them about the university. “If some agents have misled them and got them enrolled in this 'sham' university, I will write to Chief Ministers and ask them to prosecute these agents,'' he added.

Ravi said he would also ask the Indian Embassy to use its good offices with the US State Department and ensure that "these students, who are victims of a fraud, are not penalised." Meanwhile, the External Affairs Ministry, too, has voiced concern over the welfare of the students affected by the closure of the university. A senior official said the students held valid visas and hoped they would be given adequate opportunity to clarify their position. The issue is expected to be discussed in detail when Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao travels to Washington next month.

A complaint filed by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) against the "sham" university alleged that its founder and president Susan Xiao-Ping Su was using the school to issue a US visa to any foreign national willing to pay for it. The immigration investigation began in May 2010, after it was noticed that the university applied for an excessive number of US student visas when compared to the previous year.

Helpline set up

Washington: The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has established a helpline for the Indian students affected by the closure of Tri Valley University in California after an immigration scam. Affected students can call the US number 415-844-5320 and leave the voice message and an ICE representative will return the call. The students can also write to 'SFRHSIFraud@dhs. gov', seeking help. — PTI





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