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India, Iran in student expulsion war

Iran deports 4 Indians after several of their students were sent back by India for 'propagating extreme religious views'. Jayanth Jacob reports. Student politics

delhi Updated: Feb 02, 2012 02:20 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times

India may be in tandem with Iran on oil, but the two countries are sparring over their students.

In an apparent retaliation, Iran has expelled four Indian students after India had sent several Iranian students back over the past several months. The issue seems unrelated to the oil issue, but indicates how the ties between the two countries are under pressure.

One of the them, KM Razeen from Kerala spent eight and half years studying medicine in Iran and was months from getting his MD. Razeen was deported on July 21 last year.

Like Razeen, the other three students on Iran government scholarships have spent four to 10 years there.

The other students are Shoebur Rahman, from Kanpur, (medicine), Rajnish Vij, Benaras, (doctorate student, Persian language), Mirza Asif Ali Baig, Jammu& Kashmir (doctorate student, architecture). Baig was deported three months back.

Razeen's case has been taken up by the Indian ambassador to Tehran and was raised again by the joint secretary of the MEA division that deals with Iran when he was in Tehran from November 27-29.

Iran has given no convincing explanation for its decision. India said the Iranian students sent home were "propagating extreme religious views and were misusing the social networking sites".

Iranians are the second largest foreign student population in India. According to Indian security agencies, Iran has tried to influence local Muslims in India as part of a broader theological struggle with Saudi Arabia and, at least once, supported street protests in India over foreign policy.

Reponding on the issue, an Iran government source said, "In 2009 India had deported 32 Iranian students. The reasons given were not satisfactory to us. We have urged India to take them back. But we haven't heard anything from the Indian side. Regarding the four cases you mentioned, we have reports to this effect. But Iran embassy in New Delhi is awaiting more details from Tehran."

First Published: Feb 02, 2012 00:53 IST