Some Indian students deported from Abu Dhabi airport.
Twenty more students from India on F1 visa, who were bound for two dubious universities in California, were stopped from boarding Etihad Airways, even as some other students from India bound for the same location were deported from Abu Dhabi airport, failing to get immigration clearance to get on a flight for the United States.
The 20 students being barried by Etihad comes two days after 19 students from India were stopped by Air India from boarding to go to San Francisco, citing that the two universities the students had gained admission were under the scrutiny of the Department of Homeland Security.
Dozens of hapless students of the two universities – Silicon Valley University (SVU) and the Northwestern Polytechnic University (NPU) – flocked the premises of Etihad Airways in Hyderabad on Wednesday flashing their valid tickets, reported The Times of India. From cancellations to refunds to ambiguity over future departures, students were seen throwing a volley of questions at the officials.
Many students were forced to wait for hours before they got a response from the Etihad authorities. Imraan Uz Zaman, an SVU student who was among the 20 barred from boarding the flight, had to wait for three long hours.
“I argued with the airport authorities for three hours on Tuesday to seek a written clarification. And today (Wednesday), I was again made to wait for three hours at the Etihad office only to get clarity on the refund of my ticket fare,” said Imraan to the Times. He added that despite getting to the airport well in time for his 10.05 pm flight, the airline stamped ‘cancelled due to no show’ on his ticket and demanded that he cough up Rs 14,000 towards cancellation charges.
“The airline has asked us to book fresh tickets. Though they said they would refund the entire fare on our earlier ticket, the additional cost of the fresh booking will have to be borne by us,” Spandan Reddy, a SVU student, was quoted as saying.
Although the US ambassador to India Richard Verma has said that he regrets the deportation of some students earlier from the US, all with valid F1 visa, he is still trying to gather all the facts about the recent brouhaha that started with Air India’s move to not give boarding passes to 19 students.
India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has also expressed displeasure at the US immigration authorities for deporting Indian students.