Hours after India on Saturday issued a demarche to the American Embassy in New Delhi over the arrest of 129 students in the alleged pay-and-stay university visa scam, the spokesperson from the United States Embassy acknowledged the same. Being asked about the demarche, the US Embassy spokesperson said, "We can confirm that the Embassy received a Demarche from the Ministry of External Affairs about the Indian citizens detained in the United States this week".
"Our concern over the dignity and well-being of the detained students and the need for immediate consular access for Indian officials to the detainees was reiterated," the spokesperson added.
The demarche issued by the MEA expressed its concern over the detention of Indian students in the US, seeking immediate consular access to them. The ministry also underlined that the students, who have been duped into enrolling in the 'fraudulent university', should be treated differently from those who have cheated them.
It also urged the US side to share full details and regular updates of the detained students with the Indian government, to release them from detention at the earliest and not to resort to deportation against their will.
Furthermore, the External Affairs Ministry established a 24/7 helpline desk in the Indian Embassy in Washington for assistance/queries related to the detention of Indian students. The helpline numbers and e-mail address are as follows: Phone Number: +1-202-322-1190 and +1-202-340-2590; Email ID: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The government also vowed to closely monitor the case keeping in mind the welfare of the detained students in the United States. The ministry also added that it will continue to work with the American authorities and other stakeholders to address the situation arising out of the detention.
However, in an exclusive chat with News Nation, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that the detention of 129 Indian students has nothing to do with President Donald Trump's anti-immigration drive and the charges against them would have been pursued even under a different administration.
"Even if the Department were under a different administration, we would still continue to pursue charges upon these individuals," special DHS agent Spencer Camp was quoted as saying by News Nation.
(With inputs from agencies)