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India issues demarche to US embassy over detention of Indian students

ANI | Updated: Feb 02, 2019 19:34 IST

New Delhi [India], Feb 2 (ANI): India on Saturday said it has issued a demarche to the US Embassy in New Delhi over the detention of several Indian students in the United States for alleged immigration fraud and expressed its concern over their well-being and sought immediate consular access.
The US Embassy in New Delhi confirmed that it had received the demarche from the Ministry of External Affairs.
According to reports, the US authorities have put electronic trackers on the Indian students.
In its demarche, India said: "Our concern over the dignity and well-being of the detained students and the need for immediate consular access for Indian officials to the detainees was reiterated."
The MEA statement also said that 30 Indian students have been contacted by Indian consular officers and efforts to contact the remaining Indian students are continuing.
India underlined that students, who may have been duped into enrolling in the fake ‘University’ should be treated differently from the recruiters who have duped them. "We have urged the U.S. side to share full details and regular updates of the students with the Government, to release them from detention at the earliest and not to resort to deportation against their will," the Ministry added.
In a nationwide crackdown on Wednesday, US authorities arrested scores of Indian students, mainly from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, who were illegally staying in the country. A US federal court charged eight Indian student recruiters- six from Detroit and one each from Florida and Virginia. The Department of Homeland Security, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency have also issued warrants for the arrest of 600 persons.
"Our Mission and Consulates have visited several detention centres throughout the U.S. to extend consular assistance to detained students," the statement read.
The Ministry also noted that the detained students who want to seek legal support have been channelised assistance by the Indian community in the US.
The Indian Embassy in Washington has also launched a 24X7 helpline for the affected students who were arrested on Wednesday in raids across the States. The helpline numbers are 1-202-322-1190 and +1-202-340-2590 and email:cons3.washington@mea.gov.in.
The arrested students had allegedly enrolled in a fraudulent university in order to take advantage of the US government's pay-to-stay scheme. The Department of Homeland Security had set up a fake university in Farmington Hills to target foreign students who wanted to stay in the U.S. without proper authorisation, in search of jobs under the CPT (Curricular Practical Training) student visa program, according to federal indictments unsealed in Detroit.
Meanwhile, India said it is closely monitoring the situation and has expressed to the US government “the need to address the situation at the earliest.” (ANI)