First, they were duped by the Tri Valley University in California. Then, many of them were forced to wear radio collars around their ankles so that the authorities could keep track of their movements.
Since the collars, fitted with GPS technology, are used to follow suspects and criminals on parole, India has asked the US authorities to remove these “unwarranted monitors” and treat the students fairly.
Minister for overseas Indian affairs Vayalar Ravi said on Saturday that the students were unaware of the fact that the university had no registration.
“We requested the US state department to take a lenient view because the students are innocent,” he said, adding that there were now enough pointers to establish that the students were victims of no major fault of theirs.
Vishnu Prakash, external affairs ministry spokesperson, said, “We have conveyed to the US authorities that using collars to monitor a group of students, who were detained and later released, is unwarranted. The devices should be removed.”
A large number of Indian students had got transferred to Tri Valley from other US universities, besides about 100 who had obtained visas in India to enroll in the university after taking the required authorisation.
Prakash said the students should be given the opportunity to clarify their position. “Those who wish to return to India should be allowed to do so voluntarily.”
New Delhi has asked Washington for information on the students and a report on the investigation and action taken against the promoters of the university.
So far, the principal investigator has provided the Indian consulate in San Francisco a list of immigration attorneys, who are prepared to guide or advise the students free of charge.
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) proposes to post a detailed advisory for all Tri Valley students on its website sometime next week.