Indian students duped by US univ forced to wear radio collars

Washington, Jan 29 (PTI) After being duped by aCalifornia-based "sham" university, scores of Indian studentsin the US are now enduring the ignominy of being forced towear radio collars around their ankles so that authorities cankeep track of their movements.

The students, mostly from Andhra Pradesh, may also bedeported as authorities shut down Tri-Valley University inPleasanton, a major suburb in San Francisco Bay Area, oncharges of a massive immigration fraud.

A number of students were interrogated by authorities andalso forced to wear radio collars fitted with GPS technologyto track their movements.

"They (the students) were tagged with some sort ofmonitoring system placed on their ankles," Jayaram Komati ofthe Telugu Association of North America told a private Indianchannel.

" is none of their (the students'') fault, but theuniversity is at fault as it violated some rules andregulations because of which all the students are beingvictimised in this whole situation.

"We heard that (External Affairs Minister) S M Krishna istrying to talk to the State Department. Hopefully this type ofpressure will make this much easier (to resolve the issue),"he was quoted as saying.

An unnamed Indian student, who was among those duped, saidthe university was shut down all of a sudden.

"We don''t know what is happening with the university andthe US government. We have been told that we are illegalimmigrants," he was quoted as saying by the channel, addingthat 100 students of the university, which had a total of4,400, have been affected.

"We went to the local Senator and the Indian embassy. Wealso met the local attorney to help us but everyone is sayingthat this is the deportation process. People from immigrationoffice came to my room and said they needed some informationabout our college. Before going, they put tags on our anklesand said this is the tracking system."

State Department spokesman P J Crowley yesterday saidthat any activity involving visa fraud would obviously be ofgreat concern to the US. "The investigation of that is done bylaw enforcement, obviously with our cooperation, since we arethe ones who issue visas."

According to a federal complaint filed in a Californiacourt last week, the University helped foreign nationalsillegally acquire immigration status. The students arereported to have paid lakhs of rupees for obtaining a visa fortheir category and also for students work permit.

Investigations by Immigration and Custom Enforcement(ICE) found that while students were admitted to variousresidential and on-line courses of the university and on paperlived in California, in reality they "illegally" worked invarious parts of the country as far as Maryland, Virginia,Pennsylvania, and Texas. ICE called Tri-Valley a "shamuniversity".

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