Eviction Drama Unfolds at Historic Kabul House in India: A 40-Year Legal BattleNovember 13, 2023
In a dramatic turn of events, 17 families residing in the historic Kabul House in Dehradun find themselves at the center of a legal battle, facing eviction after the property was declared ‘enemy’ following the Partition. The saga has unfolded with claims of inadequate notice, inconvenience, and a protracted four-decade legal struggle.
Kabul House, a sprawling property spanning 19 bighas and valued at over Rs 400 crore, holds a rich historical significance as the residence of Afghanistan’s exiled king, Mohd Yakub Khan, from 1879 until his death in 1923. However, its fate took a different turn after the Partition, when the king’s descendants migrated to Pakistan, and the property was deemed ‘enemy’ in nature.
The eviction, which commenced after a 40-year legal tussle between the district administration and longstanding residents, has ignited tensions. City Magistrate Pratyush Singh stated that the eviction follows a district court order, with residents allegedly receiving an advance notice to vacate the premises.
The families, now facing eviction from a place they have called home for decades, express deep inconvenience due to the abrupt police action and insufficient time provided to vacate. Bina Kumari, a resident of Kabul House, recounts the challenges faced, especially with children and the elderly, as their belongings were removed, and the premises sealed.
Residents claim that the court notice mandating evacuation within two weeks was issued on October 17 but served late on October 25 during the Puja holidays. This alleged delay left them with limited time to comply, adding an extra layer of complexity to an already emotionally charged situation.
In response to the eviction, some families have sought an extension and approached the Uttarakhand High Court. They argue that the high court has already granted them an extension, adding a twist to the unfolding narrative.
As the city magistrate proceeds with the eviction, questions arise about the coordination between the district court and the high court, adding complexity to an already contentious situation.
The eviction of 17 families from Kabul House in Dehradun serves as a poignant chapter in the property’s history. The confluence of its ‘enemy’ status, a decades-long legal battle, and the residents’ plight showcase the intricate challenges surrounding historical properties and their evolving legal status. As the legal drama continues, the fate of Kabul House remains uncertain, hanging in the balance between history, law, and the lives of those who called it home.