THIS is the story of a dawn raid that took place in Glasgow on Thursday. No, not the one that brought the world’s eyes onto a southside street, another one.

One that happened quickly, quietly and went almost unnoticed and saw one man claiming political asylum taken to a detention centre before the first protestors had surrounded the van holding chef Sumit Sehdev and mechanic Lakhvir Singh.

The Indian nationals were released to cheers after a day-long stand-off between Glaswegians, Police Scotland and UK immigration authorities.

But the Sunday National can today reveal that another Indian man was also picked up in a dawn raid that day. We’ve agreed not to use his name, but we’ve obtained testimony from him from within Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre, Scotland’s only immigration holding tank.

He has no criminal history in the UK, was in the process of submitting a fresh asylum claim and says he ran from political persecution in India.

He told how he was woken from his bed by five immigration officers at 8.30am, something that was “terrifying” and left him “shaking uncontrollably and struggling to speak” by the time he arrived at Home Office premises in the city en route to detention in Lanarkshire.

He said: “I have been in this country for 16 years and this country is my home. This is why I was so shocked to be taken from my bed.

“My life would be at risk if I were to be removed to India. I cannot return. I am very scared at the prospect of the Home Office returning me to a country where I will face persecution.

“I have cooperated with the Home Office and I have been working closely with my solicitor to submit a fresh claim. I have never missed a reporting date.

“I am very upset and traumatised by the events and I am afraid being held in a detention centre during a national pandemic.”

The raid happened at Glasgow City Council's Rodney Street Assessment Centre, which provides emergency accommodation centre for homeless men. It’s understood that he was there because, unable to work, he'd also been cut-off from public funds until he submitted a fresh asylum claim, something completed by his anxious solicitor on Friday.

Glasgow City Council declined to comment, but a source said it would not have been given advance warning about the raid.

Staying here and not in a flat, it is thought, is a likely factor in why no crowds gathered when he was placed into the van – the same empowered community spirit seen in Kenmure Street wasn’t there.

READ MORE: Aamer Anwar: In Kenmure Street it was people power that won men's freedom

It’s something Maryhill Integration Network’s Pinar Aksu has warned about.

Aksu has been instrumental in spreading the community resistance message and method to immigration raids in the city and was uplifted by the crowd – or “mob”, according to one Home Office source – who responded in Pollokshields.

She told the Sunday National people are at increased risk of removal "when they don't know their neighbours".

Sehdev and Singh, who have been in the UK for around 10 years, had no legal representation but did have strong community links.

An activist wedged himself under the immigration van for eight hours to prevent their removal. Meanwhile, a member of the crowd called the Glasgow offices of McGlashan MacKay solicitors seeking legal help for them.

By sheer coincidence, it’s the firm that represents the other man detained.

READ MORE: How extraordinary community action led to Kenmure Street victory over cruelty

When that call came in, his lawyer Denize Okan knew he had already been taken. He’d been trying to obtain fresh evidence to back up his persecution claim, she says, but the pandemic made that harder. Covid-19 is devastating India and there are serious fears that deportation there could mean a death sentence.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has railed against what he calls the “inhumanity of sending people back to a global Covid hotspot”.

The man says he was already at risk – an activist for the Sikh-centric Shiromani Akali Dal party, he says he was attacked twice by Congress Party members and that authorities have visited his family home looking for him. Scotland, he says, is now his home.

Okan says removing him would put him at risk of persecution and be a “flagrant breach” of his rights under the European Convention of Human Rights: “He is a vulnerable individual.

"Thursday’s events were very powerful and the incredible community stepping in led to a very positive outcome but we must stay alert to the fact that this was not an isolated event and that earlier that very same day a successful dawn raid was carried out by the Home Office on another Indian national. Dawn raids are not welcome in Scotland and we must keep fighting to put an end to them.”

Three Indian men raided on one day – is it a coincidence? On May 4, two days before elections in Scotland, Wales and parts of England, the Home Office announced a new deal with India.

READ MORE: Glasgow triumphant as Home Office forced to back down on dawn raid detentions

For accepting 3000 Indian students aged 18-30 to work and live here for up to two years, and vice-versa, the UK will be “speeding up returns of visa overstayers”.

According to the Home Office, this deal "will ensure swifter and more efficient returns by accelerating timescales for removals, by committing appropriate resources to facilitate returns, and steps to make it easier for Indian nationals to be identified and returned".

It said: "Both governments are determined to tackle a wide range of immigration and homeland security issues and this agreement commits both countries to regular dialogue between the two governments in this area for the first time."

Home Secretary Priti Patel has said it's "groundbreaking" and will allow her team to "crackdown on those abusing our system".

The Sunday National asked the Home Office if this is why two dawn raids – that we know of – were carried out against Indian men in Glasgow on the same day.

READ MORE: The National: Our message to Unionists on this vile Home Office

It didn’t answer. Nor would it say how many “overstayers” will be returned under this agreement and if dawn raids will continue, given the Kenmure Street crowds.

Everyone who attended has been urged to take a Covid-19 test and Yousaf has invited the city's cross-party MSPs to talks this week aimed at creating "a progressive alliance to resist the Tory UK Government's hostile environment and oppressive immigration and asylum laws".

It said it doesn't comment on individual cases, adding: “The UK Government continues to tackle illegal migration in all its forms and our New Plan for Immigration will speed up the removal of those who have entered the UK illegally.”

Lawyers for Singh and Lakhdev, arranged with two firms through help from the charity Positive Action in Housing, are now working on their cases. That charity says it refutes "suggestions that they are somehow 'illegal'".

Charandeep Singh, of advocacy group Sikhs in Scotland, told us the community is scared: “There’s a lot of confusion. There is a growing issue around human rights abuses in India and Covid is ravaging communities.

“This is the wrong time for the Home Office to be doing what they’re doing. There is no justification for removing individuals from their homes.”


  • Could you please set out why this man was detained?
  • His solicitor says removal to detention in Middlesex had initially been planned before he was taken to Dungavel - is this correct?
  • Are the immigration enforcement operations on Indian nationals related to the UK-India Migration and Mobility Deal?
  • How many "overstayers" are to be returned under this agreement? The Home Office has published the number of students it will accept and must at least have an estimate on returns, if not a target.
  • Have further Indian nationals in Glasgow been the subject of these operations this week?
  • Are further such operations planned for Glasgow or are they now on pause?
  • Will the Home Office reconsider the use of these operations given the community response in Kenmure Street?
  • Does the Home Office now regret the use of the term "mob" to describe the men, women and children present at that event?

WHAT THE HOME OFFICE TOLD US: It does not comment on individual cases but: “The UK Government is tackling illegal immigration and the harm it causes, often to the most vulnerable people by removing those with no right to be in the UK.

“The operation in Glasgow was conducted in relation to suspected immigration offences and the two Indian nationals complied with officers at all times.

“The UK Government continues to tackle illegal migration in all its forms and our New Plan for Immigration will speed up the removal of those who have entered the UK illegally.”