A harsh lesson

Hundreds of Indian students who are victims of an educational, employment and immigration fraud perpetrated by the Tri-Valley University (TVU) in California are facing deportation and other harsh legal measures in the US. The plight of the students is a matter of serious concern and the external affairs ministry has rightly taken up the issue with the US authorities. While the legal issues need to be attended to, the inhuman treatment of the students is unacceptable and should be deplored. External affairs minister S M Krishna has made this clear.

It was a shocking sight to see many of the affected students being made to wear radio collars around their ankles by US officials who wanted to electronically track them. That amounted to treating the students as less than human and was a gross violation of their rights.

Most of the students have to none to blame but themselves for their plight. It was clear from the functioning of the university and the facilities offered there that its aim was to dupe students of money. It provided a short cut to many who aspired for higher education and immigration through patently and obviously illegal methods. Indian students gain admission in US universities after meeting many stringent qualifying  standards. Permission to work and live in the US  also is given only when many conditions are met.

The university admitted students in violation of all these. Many students were aware of this but ignored all the precautions and warnings in their eagerness to study, work and live in the US. They knew that the credentials of the university, which has now been shut down, were dubious and its claims were wrong. But they allowed a naïve faith that the irregularities would be condoned to get the better of good sense and caution. The university’s activities were no different from the many illegal emigration rackets which used to thrive in India and may still be operating to take gullible people to European countries and elsewhere with offers of jobs and a better life.

It has been reported that some students may be given opportunities to continue their studies in other US universities, subject to conditions. The Indian community in the US and the Indian government are bound to extend all help and assistance to them. But the lesson is that students should avoid illegal and dubious channels in their pursuit of educational and employment opportunities abroad.

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