Two Indian men, who were held in a detention van on suspected immigration offences walked free with help of a Pakistan-origin lawyer as hundreds of locals took to streets in protest. The extraordinary scenes were witnessed in the Scottish city of Glasgow where Sumit Sehdev, a chef, and Lakhvir Singh, a mechanic, both in their 30s, were removed from their home in the Pollokshields area and put up in a van heading to a detention centre.
Both men are in their 30s and have been in the UK for 10 years without leave to remain. The van was soon surrounded by by a large crowd of locals determined to free them. A standoff ensued before both men were released, on the instruction of Police Scotland who raised a public safety concern.
“This was a cynical and provocative action by the Home Office to do it on the day of Eid. To be honest, they don’t give a damn about the lives of these people, but the people of Glasgow do,” Aamer Anwar, a Pakistani-origin human rights lawyer, told ‘ITV News”.
“This city is built on the backs of refugees, people who”ve given their blood, sweat and tears to build this city. We stand firmly with these men,” he said.
This is the moment that People Power forced the release of Sumit Sehdev and Lakhvir Singh.
They were detained following a Home Office Immigration raid during Eid – with the power of solidarity and humanity the people of Glasgow mobilised and said NO pic.twitter.com/bDCKI0UwdF
— Claudia Webbe MP (@ClaudiaWebbe) May 14, 2021
Lakhvir Singh spoke in Punjabi about how he feared for what would happen when the officers took them into custody in the van and tearfully thanked the people of his neighbourhood for turning out to support them.
The duo then walked down the street with Anwar towards the local mosque, with the estimated hundreds gathered cheering and clapping, waving placards that read “refugees are welcome”. Lakhvir and Sumit are now back home with family – within a community that has fought off the Home Office to keep them here.