Men removed from immigration van in Glasgow ‘will still be deported’

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Two men who were released from the back of an immigration van in Glasgow after 200 people flooded the street will still be deported, it has been claimed.

Lakhvir Singh, 34, and Sumit Sehdevi, both of whom are Indian nationals and have been living in the UK for 10 years, were detained when officers from the UK Border Agency raided a property in Glasgow’s southside on May 13.

Police then released the men on public safety grounds after hundreds of protesters blocked the van from leaving, with one person even lying underneath the vehicle.

However, a Home Office source has now said the demonstration has only delayed the ‘inevitable’ action against the two men.

They told told The Times: ‘They will still be detained and deported at a later date. We will continue to tackle illegal immigration and the harm it causes.’

Both men are members of the area’s Sikh Gurdwara temple, where they have previously worked to help the homeless. Refugee and migrant charity Positive Action in Housing described the pair as ‘part of a community’.

Two men are released from the back of an Immigration Enforcement van accompanied by lawyer Aamer Anwar and Mohammad Asif, director of the Afghan Human Rights Foundation, in Kenmure Street, Glasgow which is surrounded by protesters. Picture date: Thursday May 13, 2021. PA Photo. Police were called to the Glasgow street where it is understood protesters were trying to prevent immigration officers from removing people from a property. See PA story POLICE Kenmure. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Lakhvir Singh, 34, and Sumit Sehdevi were released following the protests (Picture: PA)
They have lived in the UK for 10 years (Picture: Wattie Cheung)

The organisation’s director Robina Qureshi said: ‘The Home Office have referred to these men as illegal. Well they are wrong, and we are now investigating legal action against the Home Office for casting such aspersions. 

‘The term illegal in this context is part of the hostile environment. It’s not appropriate to use it for people who have lived in the UK for several years and are part of a community.

‘The men now have legal representation and are in the process of trying to regularise their status. The fact that they had no active legal representation before means they were left vulnerable.’

The Home Office previously called on the organisation Sikhs in Scotland to assist with their deportation attempt, but the group refused, stating that they did not agree with the department’s ‘heavy-handed and targeted approach’.

Dr Charandeep Singh, director of the group, was at the protest on May 13. He called on the Home Office to abandon its policy of forced removals.

He said: ‘We are calling on Home Office to drop their policy on forced removals, it’s inhumane and not something we want to see in any part of the UK.

‘Obviously if it happens again with the two individuals from yesterday we will stand in solidarity with them and support them but we will stand with any individual who has to go through such an inhumane experience.’

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