High drama unfolded outside the 7, Akbar Road bungalow once allotted to Omar Abdullah — initially during his tenure as Union minister and then as Jammu and Kashmir chief minister — as authorities moved in to evict his estranged wife Payal Abdullah on Monday.
A standoff ensued when the estate officer of Jammu and Kashmir government arrived outside the bungalow in Lutyens’ Zone at 4.10 pm, armed with an eviction order from the Delhi High Court. Initially, Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel inside the bungalow refused to unlock the gate for a squad from the Jammu and Kashmir Resident Commissioner’s office.
Stumped, the J&K government officials went to Tughlaq Road police station and sought security to do their job.
“A message was flashed on wireless and eight inspector rank officials, including two women, and three assistant commissioners of police were asked to reach Tughlaq Road police station. Within 15 minutes, all officers had reached and discussions were held on how to approach the task,” said a senior police officer.
Around 4.50 pm, the police and J&K government officials left the police station and reached the bungalow within five minutes. “The estate officer again asked the in-charge of ITBP personnel to open the gate, but he refused. Then, an ACP informed the security in-charge that by refusing to open the gate, he was stopping government officers from performing their duty, and legal action could be taken against him,” said the officer.
In the meantime, New Delhi Municipal Council officials, who had accompanied the estate officer, called a carpenter and his assistants to break the gate.
“The carpenter, with the help of an iron cutting machine, removed one side of the gate and the estate staff entered the bungalow around 5.30 pm. Payal Abdullah was not present in the bungalow,” said the officer.
Payal Abdullah arrived at 5.54 pm and went inside the bungalow. She did not speak to the media. At 6.30 pm, her counsel, Amit Khemka, came outside and claimed police personnel were throwing her belongings. He alleged they were misbehaving with her and not even preparing a list of her belongings.
At 10.20 pm, two cars carrying luggage left the bungalow.
At 10.40 pm, a new name plate — government of Jammu and Kashmir — was put up.