Three more Indian students freed of radio tagsBy Arun Kumar, IANS
Thursday, February 17, 2011
WASHINGTON - As the US promised to cooperate with India to resolve the issue of affected Indian students of a sham US university, three more students have been freed of radio monitor tags by authorities.
With the three new removals Wednesday, the US Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) has freed five of the 18 Indian students who were forced to wear monitor anklets following the closure of Tri Valley University (TVU) in California on charges of visa fraud.
ICE has also returned the passports of the five students who were taken to ICE by two immigration attorneys, Kalpana Peddibhotla and Manpreet Gahra, Indian officials said.
Encouraged by the positive development, 10 more students would be taken to ICE next week by these two immigration attorneys and they are very optimistic of the same positive outcome, they said.
The two immigration attorneys from the South Asian Bar Association had held free legal aid camp for the TVU students in association with the Indian consulate in San Francisco.
Meanwhile, in Washington an official said the US would work cooperatively with India to resolve the issue of affected Indian students, but said it’s hard to say what is possible pending a full probe.
The issue “remains under investigation”, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters Wednesday when asked about the status of the students affected by the closure of TVU.
Some 1,555 TVU students, 90 percent of them from India, mostly Andhra Pradesh, face the prospect of deportation unless they can get admission in another institution to retain their student visa status.
“We do understand that there are students who have been caught up in this,” Crowley said, noting that the issue has been discussed with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others, and also with the Indian embassy here and the US embassy in India.
The US “will work as cooperatively as we can with the Indian Government as we move ahead here”, he said. “But it’s hard to know exactly what is possible because the matter is still under investigation.”
“The United States would continue to welcome Indian students to study here,” he said, advising them to “avail themselves of all the available information on how to do this, and alert them to the potential for fraudulent institutions that are trying to do these kinds of things”.
Noting that it was “a matter of great concern” to both India and the US, Crowley pledged “to keep Indian authorities fully informed, but we have to go through this investigation first”.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])