External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said here on Monday that the government would provide all assistance to Indians in Egypt who want to leave the country in view of the worsening situation there.

Mr. Krishna noted that two flights had already brought back Indians, mostly women and children. The government was ready to send more flights to airlift those who wanted to return to India, he told journalists.

There are 3,200 Indians living in Egypt, of whom the majority are in Cairo.

Asked about India's stand on the spreading people's revolt in Egypt against the three-decades-old autocratic rule of President Hosni Mubarak, Mr. Krishna said it was an internal affair of Egypt to be sorted out by Egyptians themselves. However, he added that India was closely monitoring the situation.

Mr. Krishna said the Indian Ambassador to Washington had taken up with the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State and the Department of Homeland Security the issue of the radio-tagging of Indian students in San Francisco.

The Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. embassy in Delhi had been told of India's concern over the bad treatment of the students, who had been cheated by a bogus university.

The Consul General of India in San Francisco has been asked to take charge of the situation, and the Consulate General will hold a free legal camp for the affected students.

Mr. Krishna said the U.S. authorities had been urged to ensure “fair and proper treatment” for the students and allow them full access to legal remedy.

“Those who want to continue their studies should be allowed to transfer to other universities. Those who are keen on returning to India should have an honourable exit, and they should not be deported by the U.S. authorities,” he said.

Mr. Krishna said the radio-tagging was “unacceptable” to India and that the government's sentiments over this had already been conveyed to the U.S. administration.

To a question, he said there was no plan to discourage Indian students from going abroad for higher studies because of the bad treatment meted out to them in some countries.

He noted that the situation in Australia, where 90,000 Indians studied, had improved remarkably after he visited the country more than a year ago and had talks with the authorities.

Mr. Krishna said the government would take a decision on the issue of the killing of two Indian fishermen allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy once Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao reported back after her visit to Colombo.

The fact that the Foreign Secretary had rushed to Colombo showed the importance that the government attached to the issue, he added.


UN rights chief says 'change system' in EgyptFebruary 1, 2011

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