More than 50 per cent of the Indian students hit by the closure of California-based Tri-Valley University are at various stages of processing for the reinstatement of their visa status.

The Indian mission has been informed by the U.S. authorities that more than 50 per cent of the students were at various stages of processing for reinstatement, the embassy’s spokesman Virander Paul said.

Encouraged by the development, the Indian Embassy has asked rest of the affected students to directly approach the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which has established a dedicated help line for them.

After the Tri-Valley University was shut down in January on allegations of visa fraud, some 1,500 Indian students were affected as they lost their student visa status.

Several Indian students were questioned by ICE authorities, many detained and as many as 18 in California were radio tagged, which Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna had termed “inhuman”.

Deportation proceedings were started against many Indian students.

Mr. Krishna raised the issue with the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a telephonic talk last month.

Following this, Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Meera Shankar wrote a letter to Ms. Clinton bringing to her notice India’s concerns on this issue.

Ms. Clinton responded on February 22, 2011 that “the Department of State continues to follow this case closely and is working with the Department of Homeland Security and the Government of India to ensure fair and appropriate treatment of the students.”

Emphasising on the U.S.’ strong commitment to foster educational exchanges with India, Ms. Clinton said “Indian students make a strong contribution to both our countries and it is among my priorities to ensure that this pillar of our partnership remains strong.”

On March 2, a group of former students of the Tri-Valley University had a meeting with Ms. Shankar at the Embassy premises in Washington.

Representatives from ICE and Student Exchange Visitor Programme (SEVP) were also invited to be present.

“There was a detailed and useful discussion and exchange of information on the manner in which the problems of students at Tri-Valley University are being addressed, and some of the continuing concerns of the students,” Mr. Paul said.

“It was agreed that the students and representatives from ICE and SEVP would remain in touch with the embassy to continue to work together for early resolution of the issue,” he added.

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