NEW DELHI : Four members of the US Congress including Indian origin Raja Krishnamoorthi have written a letter to the US Homeland Security Secretary seeking humane treatment for Indian students detained on charges of visa fraud in the US.

In the missive dated 6 February, the four have cited India's importance as a "strategic partner" and "friend" of the US while seeking "fair" treatment for the 129 Indian students who were detained late last month.

The letter also pointed out that Indian students in the US who comprise 17.3% of all international students and number over 186,000 were "vital pillar" of people to people contacts between the two countries.

The detained students were found enrolled in a fake university run by some undercover agents of the ICE (HSI). According to US authorities, they knowingly enrolled in the fake university to secure US citizenship while India contends that the students were duped by eight others into joining.

"We urge DHS (Department of Homeland Security) and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to ensure the detained students are treated properly and afforded all rights provided to them under the law, including access to an attorney and release on bond if they are eligible. We further urge DHS and ICE to share full details and regular updates regarding the Indian students with the Embassy and Consulates of India and to facilitate consular access for the detainees," the letter signed by Thomas R.Suozzi, Brenda Lawrence, Rob Woodall and Krishnamoorthi and addressed to DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and acting director of ICE Ronald D Vitiello said.

"in the spirit of continuing cooperation on educational exchange programmes which benefit both countries economically and culturally, we ask that you ensure the students involved in this case are treated fairly,humanely and in accordance with due process," it said.

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