‘Most Fearful Experience so far’, Recounts Indian Students Detained in U.S. Varsity StingTop Stories

February 18, 2019 10:50
‘Most Fearful Experience so far’, Recounts Indian Students Detained in U.S. Varsity Sting

(Image source from: Tonic (Vice) - Vice Media)

The psychological state of Indian students detained in the United States for allegedly violating student visa norms has been exhausted and horrifying. The students were put in the detention centers a long way from cities, and allegedly in the company of drug traffickers and killers.

Almost 129 Indian students, mostly from two Telugu states - Andhra Pradesh and Telangana - arrested in the fake university racket, may go into depression if not released immediately or if the government fails to initiate a dialogue with the U.S. authorities, says Parmesh Bheemreddy, president of American Telugu Association (ATA).

Only a few students have been released on bail while 19 have been permitted to leave the States without facing charges. Those who have come out on bail have re-counted terrible accounts about their stay in the detention centers to ATA representatives, calling it the most fearful experience of their life up to now.

“They never expected such harsh treatment from U.S. authorities and some of them broke down in front of us while sharing details of their stay in detention centers,” a representative of a Telugu association says. “We are worried that several girl students have also faced similar treatment,” he adds.

Though comparable situations were experienced by Telugu students earlier, they were not given such harsh treatment at that time. In 2011 and 2013, the U.S. authorities made a raid on Herguan University and the Tri-Valley University in California with charges of violation of student visa norms and not preserving obligatory standards. A majority of those caught were Telugu students.

In the Farmington University issue, students got admitted for their second master’s to keep alive the Optional Practical Training (OPT) status that permits them to work in the U.S. in their related fields for the period of 24 months, and also use the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) option in which they can work part-time as part of their course of study.

The return of a majority of such students is imminent now, says Nishidhar Borra, a consultant. However, what needs to be done by the government in India is to wake up at least now to collect data of students going overseas.

“It is necessary to track them from day one so that they are not cheated by consultants or middlemen in the USA. Even if the government wants to come to their rescue immediately, they need to have the data in hand,” Borra says.

-Sowmya Sangam

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