Union Minister for External Affairs S.M. Krishna has taken strong exception to the radio-tagging of Indian students in San Francisco, and has directed the Consuls General at California and New York to provide assistance to them.

Mr. Krishna told The Hindu here: “It is very unfortunate. It is an inhuman act on the part of the authorities to maintain surveillance on the students concerned by tagging them. They have been duped by a sham of a university in California. The Indian Consuls General at California and New York have been asked to provide all assistance and they will be meeting the students on Monday. The students can also go to the court and seek intervention.”

‘Take severe action'

Mr. Krishna added: “We demand that the U.S. government initiate severe action against those officials responsible for this inhuman act. The Indian Ambassador has been asked to get in touch with the highest authorities in the U.S. on this matter. All the students concerned have obtained U.S. visas. It is a fraud played by the university.”

He said the students were not criminals and that the radio tags should be removed immediately. The tags were placed around the students' ankles to apparently keep a tab on their movements.

The Telugu Association is also into touch with Mr. Krishna as the affected students, mostly from Andhra Pradesh, are facing the prospect of deportation. The U.S. authorities last week shut down the Tri-Valley University in Pleasanton, San Francisco, on charges of a massive immigration fraud.

The students are believed to be frantically seeking admission in other universities in an attempt to save their academic careers and avoid deportation.

Mr. Krishna said the students' parents need not worry since the matter had been taken up with appropriate authorities. “The government will also provide suitable assistance to the affected students if they wished to return home,” he said.

With reference to the developments in Sri Lanka relating to the killing of a fisherman in Tamil Nadu, Mr. Krishna said he would meet the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister at Thimphu on February 8.

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