The government is likely to help provide alternative educational opportunities to about 1,500 Indian students facing deportation from the US after their university was declared fraudulent, but only if the students were genuinely duped.
Caution marked the government's response on Thursday, officially seeking a report from the Indian Consul-General and preparing to help the students if they are deported, while quietly admitting an unwillingness to commit too much too early.
Senior officials said the government was not yet completely convinced all the students were genuinely duped. "We have asked for a report from our embassy and from our consul general and when a report is issued, we will be taking it up with the US government," external affairs minister SM Krishna said.
Indian consulates in the US have been told to "attend to the needs" of the students, he said. But Krishna also said it was "strange" the students hadn't approached the Indian consulate yet.
"If we find the students were genuinely duped, then we have a two-fold plan," a government source said. The first part of the plan will involve raising the case officially with the US, and providing legal help to the students if they choose to fight those who cheated them. The second part will involve seeking alternative educational opportunities in India for the students.
Officials are however unwilling to commit to much because of fears that the students may have been part of an illegal migration racket masterminded by the ‘fraudulent' Tri-Valley University.