Fourteen Indian students who travelled to the US with dreams of college, have been deported after allegedly being detained and questioned for 14-15 hours by the FBI in San Francisco. Another batch of students said they were kept in a cell for three days before being deported.
A third set of 19 students were stopped from taking a flight from Hyderabad to San Francisco by Air India even though they had visas. Air India said the students were stopped so they could avoid the humiliation of being deported because the airline’s counterpart in the US had advised them to stop students coming to join blacklisted universities in the US.
The common factor between these three group of students is that they were heading to the Silicon Valley University at San Jose and Northwestern Polytechnic College, Fremont in California. The universities have been blacklisted by the US, according to information provided to Air India by the US Customs and Border protection agency.
Many of the deported students were from Hyderabad and there were students from other states as well, including Delhi and Chhatisgarh.
One student spoke of the humiliation of being kept in a cell and interrogated for hours. Another, the son of a farmer rued that he had given up his job and now a whole year is gone.
Air India has issued a notice to travel agents saying those travelling on a student visa and heading to the mentioned universities were not to be sold tickets.
Both Silicon Valley University and Northwestern Polytechnic University have through their website told students that the confusion was due to heightened security in the wake of the Paris attack.