A few days after Air India stopped students from Telangana and Andhra, who were travelling to blacklisted universities in the USA's California to pursue higher education, Etihad Airways also barred another batch of 20 students from boarding a flight to the US on Tuesday.
The students who arrived at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in Hyderabad, were in for a shock after their tickets were cancelled and the airlines reportedly demanded Rs 14,000 from the students as cancellation charges, reports suggest.
A report in The New Indian Express adds that the airline officials claimed that like Air India, they too have received official communication from the US government informing them about the blacklisting of two universities - Silicon Valley University (SVU) and the Northwestern Polytechnic University (NPU).
The report also adds that the students refused to go back, and decided to stay put.
"I have paid $ 7,000 to the university as my fee for first semester. Another Rs 3 lakh has been spent towards the paper work. Who will refund my money if I lose this opportunity? he rued. I have no intention to cancel my ticket," one of the students told the newspaper.
Fourteen Indian students who travelled to the US last week were deported allegedly after being detained and questioned for 14-15 hours in San Francisco, while another 19 students were stopped by Air India in Hyderabad. Both groups were heading to the Silicon Valley University at San Jose and North Western Polytechnic College in California.
"We were interrogated for 14-15 hours by the FBI. We were all kept in one cell. It was humiliating, we were not allowed to go anywhere and were told that we have to return immediately. It was hard to raise 2-3 lakhs for a US university. Now I have been shamed publicly. How will the blemish go from my passport and from my future? Maybe it was wrong to dream," Deepak, a 23-year-old, told NDTV.
Meanwhile, the Indian government on Tuesday said that it has 'strongly' taken up the issue with foreign affairs minister Sushma Swaraj saying that India was awaiting for a response from the US state department over the issue.
She also assured that the list of all universities blacklisted by the USA government will be announced soon and that India has already asked for the list from concerned officials.
"We have seen reports regarding deportation of Indian students from San Francisco. As per information available with us, the deportations have taken place due to denial of entry to these students by US immigration authorities. Air India has acted as per the advice of US authorities. We have strongly taken up the matter with the US government both in the US and in Delhi. We are closely following up the matter with the aim of resolving it at the earliest," foreign ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
We have taken up deportation of Indian students admitted in SVU San Jose and NPU Freemont with US State Deptt. Their response is awaited.â€” Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) December 22, 2015