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Arrest of Indian experts not notified – Embassy of India, Washington,DC





Arrest of Indian experts not notified

Arrest of Indian experts not notified

PTI, January 25, 2000

WASHINGTON, JAN. 24. The Indian mission here has not been formally notified
about the arrest and handcuffing of 40 Indian programmers at the Randolph Air
Force Base by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service even four days
after the incident. No notification came to Indian missions either about these
arrests or about the arrest of an Indian employed by the US embassy in New
Delhi, Rakesh Kumar Kashyap, for allegedly shaking down visa seekers to the US,
sources close to the embassy here said. This is unusual, they said. The sources
pointed out that they recognize that the law will take its own course but
formalities have to be adhered to, and the US is the first to protest to any
host country if any American is arrested and no US official is allowed to meet
them in jail.

The programmers were arrested, handcuffed and paraded like ordinary criminals
for not having their work permits on their person on Thursday. All of them, who
entered the U.S. on valid H1-B visas, were released after being detained
overnight. Immigration authorities said the professional visa programme was
being abused by people from India, China and Russia because the firms who bring
them here ostensibly for working on their payrolls are really hired out to other
companies – a practice known as “bodyshopping.”

Observers, however, said the programmers can hardly be blamed for such a
practice, for that is the responsibility of those who bring them here.  The
programmers were brought to the US by two Indian-owned firms, Softech and
Frontier, and placed at the base by the Maryland-based ACS Government Solutions
Group, contractor for making computer programmes for the air force.

In interviews to the media, the arrested programmers complained that they
were treated harshly and were not allowed to remove the handcuffs even to go to
the washroom. “It was a traumatic experience,” one programmer said. They were
brought to the U.S. by two Indian-owned firms, Softech and Frontier, and placed
at the base by the Maryland-based ACS Government Solutions Group, contractor for
making computer programmes for the Air Force. There is simmering resentment here
against overseas programmers who, locals say, depress the wage rates by working
for lower wages.

The latest incident is expected to further depress the entry of professionals
from Asian countries into US. Only last week energy secretary Bill Richardson
said Asian American scientists play a major role in US nuclear labs and after
the recent arrest of a Taiwan-born scientist Wen Ho Lee for allegedly leaking
information to China, fewer Asian Americans are applying.

He has said he desperately wants more Asian American scientists. However,
there is simmering resentment here against overseas programmers who locals say
depress the wage rates by working for lower wages. The financially prosperous
one-million strong Indian community here has so far not reacted to the incident.
(PTI)

 


Categorised as: H1 Program


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