Sham varsity: US defends radio tagging, says probe on

Monday, January 31, 2011

NEW DELHI - The US Monday defended as “standard procedure” the radio tagging of Indian students, who face the prospect of deportation after the closure of a fake university in San Francisco rendered their immigration dubious, and stressed that it was probing the incident.

A day after External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna strongly condemned the use of radio trackers as “inhuman”, the US embassy said in a statement: “Use of ankle monitors is widespread across the United States and standard procedure for a variety of investigations, and does not necessarily imply guilt or suspicion of criminal activity.

Some of those involved in the Tri-Valley investigation have been issued ankle monitors, the embassy said.

“An ankle monitor sends a radio frequency signal containing location and other information to a receiver. It allows for freedom of movement and is a positive alternative to confinement during a pending investigation.

Some 1,555 students of Tri-Valley University, 90 percent of them from India, mostly Andhra Pradesh, face the prospect of deportation following the closure of the university in Pleasanton on charges of selling student visas.

“The Department of State is following this case closely and is in regular communication with Government of India officials, the embassy said.

“The Department of Homeland Securitys Immigration and Customs Enforcement division (DHS/ICE) is leading the investigation, and as an ongoing investigation it would be inappropriate to discuss further details at this time, it said.

Krishna demanded that the US government “initiate severe action against those officials responsible for this inhuman act”.

“Indian students are not criminals. The radio collars should immediately be removed, Krishna said in Bangalore Sunday.

“All help will be extended to the students. Parents need not worry since the matter has been taken up with appropriate authorities, he said.

The external affairs ministry Saturday had said the use of monitors was “unwarranted” and raised the issue with the US deputy ambassador.

The deployment of radio-trackers students have been forced to wear around their ankles has triggered a wave of anger through the Indian community in the US.

The US, however, assured that if fraud victims choose to return to India first and apply for a new student visa, they will be treated the same as any other applicant.

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, which any affected student may call to seek help, the embassy said.

Filed under: Education

will not be displayed