A TORY MSP has been criticised for “absurd” claims that a spontaneous protest in Glasgow to stop Home Office detentions was “incited” by politicians.

The demonstration on Kenmure Street was triggered last week after enforcement officers tried to detain two Indian nationals on Eid – the religious festival that marks the end of Ramadan.

More than 1000 people joined in with efforts to stop the Home Office, with Polce Scotland eventually ordering that the men be released.

The mass protest has sparked concerns about coronavirus, however, with cases rising in the southside of Glasgow.

Dr Sandesh Gulhane, a GP who recently won a list seat for the Scottish Tories in the Holyrood election, was asked for his thoughts on the demonstration and the threat of rising infections.

Speaking on BBC Good Morning Scotland, he refused to condemn the Home Office for launching raids in the middle of a pandemic and during a religious holiday.

Asked if the operation should have gone ahead during the coronavirus crisis, he replied: “My concern really is our elected officials inciting people to come out in the southside, and put themselves at risk.”

The Conservative MSP added: “And the safety of everyone with the pandemic, and with the increase in the Indian variant in the southside, that that's my concern here that people are ok. I really hope that no-one does contract coronavirus as a result of that.”

The National: Lawyer Aamer Anwar speaks to protesters blocking the road as police surround an immigration van in Kenmure Street, Glasgow, May 13.

READ MORE: Home Office ‘cowards’ refused Nicola Sturgeon's calls on Glasgow protest

Gulhane was then asked if he would lobby colleagues at Holyrood and Westminster to try to stop enforcement raids during the coronavirus crisis.

The Tory said he didn’t want to comment on individual cases “because no-one really does know the ins and outs of the cases”.

He continued: “As far as what the Home Office were doing, they were doing their job, the people were doing their job. We can't be blaming the actual workers for what they were doing [and] the police.”

Gulhane insisted he had no say on whether or not enforcement raids happen during the pandemic because it is a reserved matter. “I am completely unable to make any decisions on that and that is something for the UK Government to be doing.”

The comments sparked fury from the Scottish Greens, who supported the Kenmure Street demonstration along with local Labour and SNP politicians.

Co-leader Patrick Harvie told The National: “This was the spontaneous response of a concerned and organised community, coming out in numbers to support their friends and neighbours in the face of the appalling actions of this cruel and institutionally racist Home Office. The idea that it was down to the words of any politicians is absurd.

“Not only were these enforced evictions taking place during Covid restrictions, they took place on Eid, an important religious festival for the community of Pollokshields. Mr Gulhane knows fine well that the resistance shown by ordinary Glaswegians was and will continue to be in defence of human rights and against the actions of the Home Office and his government, and his attempts to deflect will not dampen that resolve.”

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