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'Indian' trash raises stink

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By AMIT ROY in London
  • Published 11.06.08
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The tower block and Ivimy

London, June 11: A Conservative councillor in London has been forced to apologise after accusing Indian residents in a tower block of making the communal garden untidy by throwing litter out of their windows.

Lucy Ivimy, who sits on Hammersmith & Fulham council, a west London borough where a fifth of the population is non-white, made her comments about the behaviour of residents in the multi-storey Woodford Court, in Shepherds Bush, which falls in her ward.

Immigrant groups and Opposition Labour councillors bristled with indignation after Ivimy declared: “I know that in India, throwing rubbish out of a window and total disregard for the cleanliness of a public area is normal behaviour and I dare say a number would change behaviour if firmly told that in London this is not acceptable behaviour.”

Ivimy, 53, had taken up the problem of litter in the Tenant’s Hall Garden which has a notice that reads: “You are dirtying your own area and affecting the enjoyment of the hall for everybody, including your neighbours.”

After a meeting with residents, Ivimy fired off an angry email to housing officials on the local authority which said: “I think we need to a) sort out some regular cleaning up of the garden and b) conduct an educational exercise to tell people not to throw stuff out of the window – particularly foreign-born residents.”

She said the residents’ association should not be responsible for picking up all the rubbish, which includes “used condoms and other delights”.

Stephen Cowan, leader of the Labour group on the council, said Ivimy had no proof to back up her claims.

He said: “Across the board, it’s a minority of residents who throw rubbish out of windows and leave it in corridors. They are from all backgrounds. It is completely wrong to say it is just people from India. All this shows is her inherent prejudice.”

Ivimy received no support from Deana Maddix, chairman of the residents’ association, who said: “We don’t know who is throwing the rubbish, that’s the whole point. We would never mention any race, this is all lies.”

Another resident, Claudia Harriott, a 28-year-old midwifery student, said: “I don’t know why she is singling out Indians as there are dozens of different nationalities in this block.”