IITians want govt to make overseas trip a smooth ride

After three IITians were detained in Italy, several students demanded that campuses talk to MoEF and embassies to avoid such incidents

After three IITians were detained in Italy on Monday by security for passport verification, there has been a growing demand from students at Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B), for the institutes to communicate with the Ministry of External Affairs and Indian embassies in other countries to avoid such instances. According to students, several IITians travel abroad for internships, and with years the number will only increase. Students feel official communication added to workshops on precautionary measures for traveling abroad can benefit students.

Several IITians travel abroad for internships, as it forms an important part of their career prospects. Pic for representation
Several IITians travel abroad for internships, as it forms an important part of their career prospects. Pic for representation

Uday Kusupati from IIT Bombay, Akshit Goyal and Deepak Bhatt from IIT Delhi, are currently doing their internship with Inria Sophia Antipolis-Mediterranee in Nice, France since early May. They were traveling to the port city of Genoa for the weekend. While they were waiting to take a connecting train from Ventimiglia to Nice, local Italian security personnel rounded them up for passport verification. They were taken to Bari with several other people from different countries and detained for almost 10 hours without being allowed to contact anybody. Finally when they could contact family members, things began to move and soon they were on their way to Nice. The incident has been labelled as condemnable and an example of racial discrimination by all IITians who took it up on the Internet yesterday, and tagged the Ministry of External Affairs, requesting intervention.

A student from IIT-B’s Computer Science department said, “There are several students from IITs who go abroad for internships. These are very important in terms of their careers. To facilitate this, institutes can have a dialogue with Indian embassies in the countries where the students are going. This will make students’ international trips convenient.”

“While the internships are optional, the paperwork includes approval from the institute. Talks can be held with the Ministry of External Affairs after students receive the final nod from the employers. After all, this isn’t a regular process which will continue throughout the academic year, but during internship season which is generally in the summer break,” said another student from IITB campus who is pursuing mechanical engineering.

The dean of Students’ Affairs at IIT-B, Soumya Mukherjee said, “The internships are optional. However, the institute takes the responsibility and creates awareness among students about things to remember, precautions to take.
These awareness programmes can be intensified, especially before internship season.” He further said, “This case is one of its kind, an unfortunate incident. But it is great that the Ministry of External Affairs immediately took cognisance of the situation and intervened to help students.”

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