Radio tags removed from three more Indian students

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Washington, Feb 17: The US Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) has removed radio tags from three more Indian students of the now shut-down Tri Valley University (TVU) in California and also returned their passports.

Susmita Gongulee Thomas, the Consul General, Indian Consulate San Francisco, said ICE have returned the passports of these three students along with the two others, from whom radio tags were removed last week.

In all radio tags so far has been removed from five of the 18 Indian students. These students were taken to ICE by two immigration attorneys, Kalpana Peddibhotla and Manpreet Gahra.

Encouraged by the positive development, Thomas said 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.

"Five of the 18 students are now free of the radio tags. Students were feeling very badly about. It was humiliating to go around with these tags," Thomas told PTI.

The Consul General said, three of the students who have radio tags have gone to their own lawyers, so she has no information about them.

The two immigration attorneys -Kalpana Peddibhotla and Manpreet Gahra are from the South Asian Bar Association, who in association with the Consulate had held free legal aid camp for the Tri Valley Students.

"Our primary concern and priority was to get these radio tags removed," she said.

Thomas said community organisations in the Bay area, especially the Telugu Association of North America, have been supporting these students in distress. She urged other community organisations to come forward with their resources to help these students.

The Consul General said the TVU students are from various parts of the country, not only from Andhra Pradesh alone.

"There are students from Kerala; some are from (West) Bengal. Some are from Madhya Pradesh. Some are Gujaratis," she said.

Crowley said the US government will cooperate with Indian authorities but went on to say, "it's hard to know exactly what is possible because the matter is still under investigation".

He said US understands India's point fully that for the students caught up in this the risk is that they''ll lose a year of schooling and go through great inconvenience as this matter is being investigated.

"We do understand that, and we've pledged our cooperation. But we do, you know, recognise that there are strong indications of visa fraud. We don''t know who's involved. We don't know how they got involved, but this has to be investigated fully. And we will do that," he said.

"The (US) embassy in Delhi has also issued some statements that reiterate that the embassy is available as a resource to help students who want to apply to come to schools in the United States," he noted.

"We will make sure that whoever is interested in coming to the United States we continue to welcome Indian students to study here -- that they 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," he said.

PTI

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