Glasgow, May 15, 2021 (Yes Punjab News)
Police in Scotland have freed two Indian nationals, who were held inside a detention van, after protesters surrounded the vehicle demanding their release, according to a media report.
The incident took place on Thursday in Glasgow’s Kenmure Street following a stand-off between the police and protesters, the BBC report said.
Earlier in the day, the two men had been removed from a flat and were lodged in a UK Home Office detention van.
According to the Home Office, the two Indian nationals had been detained over “suspected immigration offences”. The two were released on bail pending further investigation.
But after they were taken in, hundreds gathered in the area, with one man crawling under the van to prevent it from moving, said the BBC report.
Some of the protesters were heard shouting “let our neighbours go”.
According to the No Evictions Network campaign group, three protesters were arrested.
One of the men, Lakhvir Singh, 34, said : “I’ve been astonished and overwhelmed by the support I’ve received from the people of Glasgow.”
“At around 9.30 a.m. immigration enforcement carried out a raid and we were taken to security in the van. There were only five or six people at the time but word spread and then there were crowds of hundreds,” he said.
“We are so grateful for the support,” he was quoted by The Independent newspaper as saying.
In regard to the men’s release, Police Scotland said: “In order to protect the safety, public health and well-being of all people involved in the detention and subsequent protest in Kenmure Street, Pollokshields, Ch Supt Mark Sutherland has, following a suitable risk assessment, taken the operational decision to release the men detained by UK Immigration Enforcement back into their community meantime.”
Condemning the detention, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the move was “unacceptable”.
She said she would be “demanding assurances” from the UK government that they would not create such a dangerous situation again.
“Doing this on Eid, in the heart of our Muslim community, and in the midst of a serious Covid outbreak was staggeringly irresponsible – but the even deeper problem is an appalling asylum and immigration policy,” she said.
Humza Yousaf, the Scottish government’s Justice Secretary called the detention “completely reckless”, adding “that the situation should never have occurred”.
The Sikhs in Scotland group said in a statement that it was “deeply concerned”, and urged the Home Office to “abandon forced removals and to adopt an immigration policy based on human rights, compassion and dignity”.