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`Radio collars removed from 12 Indian students`

The Ministry of External Affairs has told the NHRC that radio collars have been removed from 12 out of 18 students of Tri-Valley University in the US and the same will be taken off the remaining students soon.

Updated: Mar 15, 2011, 18:35 PM IST

New Delhi: The Ministry of External
Affairs has told the NHRC that radio collars have been removed
from 12 out of 18 students of Tri-Valley University in the US
and the same will be taken off the remaining students soon.

Taking suo motu cognizance of media reports alleging
human rights violation of the students who were victims of a
visa fraud, the NHRC had issued a notice to the MEA on
February 7, calling for a report in the matter.

In response to the notice, the ministry has informed that
radio collars have been removed from 12 of 18 students and
"the same are expected to be removed from the remaining
students very soon," the Commission said in a statement on Tuesday.

The ministry has emphasised that the students were in the
US on valid visas or authorisations and the investigations
being conducted by the US authorities pertain to violation of
visa conditions relating to class attendance, residence and
work.

The government of India has strongly protested to the US
government over the clamping of radio collars on the ankles of
Indian students of Tri-Valley University, it said.

"A communication from Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao on
the issue said, `Our consistent message to the US government
is that while we recognise the right of every government to
investigate and prosecute fraud, the students, a majority of
whom themselves are victims of fraud, should be given adequate
time and opportunity to transfer to other universities or
readjust their status and, if they desire, return to India,
without prejudice to their ability to travel to the US for any
purpose,`" the NHRC said.

The government has strongly protested the
radio-collaring, called them unacceptable and asserted that
these should be removed immediately, she said.

"We have also conveyed that we expect the US government
to take steps to prevent such universities from exploiting
foreign students," Rao told the Commission.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement questioned a
number of Indian students and 18 of them were initially
detained and subsequently released with radio monitoring
devices on their ankles, pending completion of investigations
into their possible involvement in the irregularities.

The MEA has informed that approximately one-third of the
former students of Tri-Valley University have begun the
process of transfer to other academic institutions through
Student Exchange and Visitor Programme (SEVP) of the US.

The US government had closed the university on January 19
for alleged immigration fraud and other irregularities. The
university was authorised by the government in February, 2009
to admit a limited number of foreign students, but did not
enjoy state accreditation. By the time it was closed, it had
on its rolls approximately 1550 students, of whom 95 per cent
were from India, mainly from Andhra Pradesh.

PTI