In the ongoing investigations into the terrorist attack on an Israeli diplomat, investigative agencies have unearthed the misuse of student visas on an alarming scale and are now scrutinizing documents submitted by foreign students studying in India.

Here’s a few details:

The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and other organizations in India sponsor many students from Africa, Central Asia, and Middle East etc. for study in Indian Educational Institutes. These students need to submit certain basic documentation along with an application for sponsorship for higher studies at a preferred institute in India. This student visa varies from six months to a year (I need to recheck the duration). Many of these students excel in their studies and return home on completion of their education. However, the recent case of 87 foreign students studying in Karnataka exposes the abuse and misuse of India’s hospitality. These students were instructed to leave the country after being charged with crimes, visa and passport expiry! Forty four students have been involved in various crimes; cases are pending in the courts in Karnataka. The main culprits appear to be from Iran, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Mongolia.

Those foreign students who pay for their tuition, board and lodging can avail of any course offered by any government recognized institute in India. The present modus operandi is not to seek Indian Government sponsorship but to pay for one’s own fees, board and lodging backed by a private sponsor in India. This helps in expeditious issuance of a student visa.

Whether a student actually attends college or is busy in other activities is usually not verified. And it is this loop hole that allows a number of murderous people to legally enter the country, sponsored by ‘religious’ and ‘other’ institutes. Not all are above board. And this is where the problem comes in…how does a country the size of India monitor these students who can easily merge into the vast countryside?

There have been and continue to be many cases where foreign students have ‘acquired’ an Indian driving licence, ration card and voter’s card…Iranians and Bangladeshis are among the leading offenders in this racket!

Terrorism, drugs and religious fundamentalism appear to be a lucrative business for those “students” who connive to abuse the educational system in India. In the aftermath of the terrorist attack on an Israeli diplomat in New Delhi one hopes that India will be more prudent in issuing student visas.

I am sure authorities in U.K and Australia face the same problems:)