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Professor J S Bandukwala, leading the agitation of the displaced Kalyannagar families, on Saturday met three officers of Vadodara Municipal Corporation who assured him of restarting the promised rental compromise of Rs 3,000 to the families. The meeting came a day after close to 550 Muslim families, who were displaced in the November 2014 demolition drive of the VMC, restarted their agitation by sitting in on hunger strike in the VMC premises. The protest against the VMC’s inaction in resolving the issue was called off when VMC Commissioner Vinod Rao reportedly promised to discuss the issue at a meeting with representatives of the families.
Rao designated the three officers who met Bandukwala at his residence. At the meeting, the officials said that the civic body would re-start rental reimbursement for the families that was discontinued last year.
Bandukwala said, “The officers repeated what the Commissioner (Rao) promised had me over our telephonic conversation on Friday. He said the VMC would disburse the rental compensation of the last seven months, which has not been paid to the families as they insisted that the families accept homes in Tandalja.”
He said the families had the right to choose where they want to live. He said, “I beg to ask, why should Muslims live only in Muslim enclaves? If so, how different is this policy from the apartheid era in South Africa or South America before the successful Gandhian struggle of Martin Luther King? This will polarise Vadodara.” Bandukwala had recently written to CM Vijay Rupani describing the BJP-led VMC’s conduct in the matter ‘shameful’. Rao was unavailable for comment.