* 23 more Telugu students deported
* US immigration officials cancel visas without checking
* All deported students were travelling to join reputed universities.
* The students were detained by airlines authorities at RGIA for more than eight hours
* Deputy CM Mohammad Mahmood Ali intervenes to allow the students go
HYDERABAD: Shattering the hopes of hundreds of aspirants seeking higher education in the universities in the United States of America (USA), the immigration authorities there have adopted a tough stand towards Indian students. A fresh batch of students, who were deported on Friday said that the immigration authorities cancelled their visas without even verifying the records and seeking clarification. The students were forced to return by an available flight immediately. Earlier the US immigration authorities used to grill students for hours before deporting them.
On Saturday night, a batch of 23 deported students arrived at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) here. Unlike the previous batches of deported students, they were were seeking admission at reputed universities like University of New Haven and DeVry University in US. However, that did not help them much.
Surprisingly, many of the deported students are already studying at various universities in the USA. They were returning to USA after their Christmas vacation. Sai Kiran, a student of DeVry University in Chicago, was deported from Chicago International Airport when he was on his way to join the next term of his MS course.
Sai Kiran said he was deported because of a picture that he took in a hotel in Hyderabad. The US immigration officials, while checking the pictures on his mobile, grew suspicious over that photograph and accused him of illegally working in a restaurant in USA. He said they stamped his Visa as ‘Cancelled with prejudice’, without giving him an opportunity to speak to the Indian embassy officials and then forced him to return.
Another student, Abhilash, from Hyderabad, said, he was not even grilled. He was stopped at JFK Airport in New York City, when he was on his way to join the University of New Haven in Connecticut. He said, “They asked me to wait for more than two hours. Later, an official came to me and handed my boarding along with the details of my return ticket to Hyderabad. Before I realised what was going on, they forced me to board the flight.”
The future of the students is hanging in a balance as their visas have been cancelled. Nine of them, were supposed to join University of New Havens on January 13. They have already written to the university regarding their ordeal. However, there is no response yet. The Indian nationals deported from different States of USA on Saturday, included employees, tourists and businessmen, according to the Immigration office at RGIA.
A bitter Homecoming
The woes of deported students did not end at the American Airports. They faced a humiliation in Hyderabad also. The 23 deported students who arrived at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) on Saturday evening, were reportedly detained by the carrier Airlines for more than eight hours for the ‘paper work’ relating to return tickets.
After arriving at RGIA at around 5.30 pm by different flights, the deported students were asked to wait in a room to complete the paper work. They were made to wait till 12 am, sparking a protest from the students and parents.
They heaved a sigh of relief as Telangana Deputy Chief Minister Mohammad Mahmood Ali intervened. The deputy CM, who was returning from Delhi at 12.30 am, was approached by the parents of the students at RGIA. They were allowed to go home after he spoke to the airlines officials and the immigration officials.
Speaking to Express, Mahmood Ali said, “Some parents met me at the Airport and explained the situation. It was unfortunate that they had to face such harassment after the humiliation in the US. I spoke to the airlines and immigration officials and asked them to let the students go first. Any matter can be sorted out later. The students should not suffer.” The deputy CM said, he stayed at the Airport from 12.30 am to 2 am and made sure that the students were allowed to go home.
The deported students also alleged that they were asked to sign a bond, stating that they would pay for their return tickets. A student from Hyderabad said that some of them were also made to sign on blank papers. Many students paid for their return tickets while boarding the flight from USA.