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Radio tags are modern and trendy: US official

Feb 01, 2011 04:30 PM IST India India

Hyderabad: The United States has defended the radio tagging of Indian students at the Tri Talley University by the authorities. A consulate official on Tuesday in a bizzare description said the radio tagging was 'trendy' and certainly preferable to wearing jump suits and sitting in prison. "This is very modern and trendy, just like stars in Hollywood," said US Consulate Public Affairs Officer Juliet Wurr. The students on the other hand are saying that they are the victims in this case and not fraudsters. They are expressing grave uncertainties about their future. "Despite asking them repeatedly we have not been given any solution, we are very scared. We are stuck here, we don’t have anyone we know here, we are unsure about our future,” said one of them. Many say they only get news from the media and there is no information from the authorities. The Consul General of India too says most of the tagged students are innocent. "Sitting way out in the wilds of Andhra Pradesh you really don't have access to internet in the way you have an access to internet in the US. So many of the students just went by word of mouth. I don't think that any of them had the motivation of trying to defraud any rules of the US government,” Susmita Gongulee Thomas, Consul General of India. Meanwhile, US Immigration, Customs and Enforcement Department Director John Morton spoke to Indian Ambassador to the US Meera Shankar about the radio tagging of Indian students. Shanker also spoke to senior officials in the US Department of Homeland Security and asked for a speedy resolution to the problem. The US administration has maintained that the tagging is legal. Meanwhile, Parents of the students who have been radio-collared by US authorities have expressed anger against the management of the Tri-Valley University. They say the students went to the sham university with valid visas and shouldn't be made scapegoats. Even as statements and counter-statements from either side reach a fever pitch, the External Affairs ministry has called for some perspective. “There are about 1.08 lakh Indian students in USA. We are talking about only 18 students who have been tagged. I am appealing to the people here and the media to look at it in the larger perspective of the lakh odd other students. Clearly the government believes there are no major worries for the Indian student community in the US. But for the innocent among the 18 radio-tagged students, the road to justice seems like a long and hard one.