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‘Tagging of Indian students unacceptable’

Bangalore: India on Sunday slammed the US authorities for tagging some Indian students duped by a ‘sham’ university in California.

“The way some of the students have been treated by authorities is unacceptable,” External Affairs Minister SM Krishna told reporters here.

“In the opinion of the government of India the developments were unavoidable and adding insult to injury,” he said.

Krishna told the US that it “must realise the tremendous stakes involved in higher education, in interaction between our two countries in higher education.”

The foreign minister promised legal and consular help to the students.

Some of the Indian students duped by the ‘sham’ Tri-Valley University have been forced to wear radio-trackers around their ankles. This has triggered a wave of anger through the Indian community.

On Saturday India said the use of monitors was ”unwarranted” and raised the issue with the US deputy ambassador in New Delhi.

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.

Some of the students who approached Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to seek help were placed under ISAP (Intense Supervision and Appearance Programme) and put in removal proceedings.

A number of students have already been interviewed by ICE agents, most have been questioned and released but a few have been required to wear ankle bracelets, Jayaram Komati of the Telugu Association of North America (TANA) told a news agency.

Throughout Saturday, Indian television channels had displaying visuals of Indian students with radio trackers around one ankle, which was apparently done to monitor their movements.

India protested the measure. “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,” said Indian external affairs ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash in New Delhi.

US Deputy Chief of Mission Donald Lu was called to the external ministry and apprised of India’s concerns over the measure.

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