Kohinoor Diamond: Modi Government is hopeful that India will get back “a valued piece of art”
New Delhi: The Indian Government today issued a clarification to certain news items and reiterated its resolve to make all possible efforts to bring back from the UK the Kohinoor Diamond in an amicable manner.
The Kohnoor came into British hands in 1849 and is now a part of the Crown Jewels on display at the Tower of London.
In a statement the Government of India has put on record that certain news items appearing in the press regarding the Kohinoor Diamond are not based on facts.
BBC today reported that the Indian government has told the Supreme Court that it should not try to reclaim the priceless Koh-i-noor diamond from Britain.
Aljazeera among others, has also flashefd the same news today under the titled “India to Britain: Kohinoor diamond belongs to you”.
The Government of India has focused attention on the “factual position” by stating that the matter is sub judice at present. A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court that is yet to be admitted.
The Solicitor General of India was asked to seek the views of the Government of India, which have not yet been conveyed. The Solicitor General of India informed the Court about the history of the diamond and gave an oral statement on the basis of the existing references made available by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI). The Government statement said: “Thus, it should be reaffirmed that the Government of India has not yet conveyed its views to the court, contrary to what is being misrepresented. The Court granted six weeks time on the prayer of the Solicitor General to take instructions for making his submission in the matter.
The status report on which the preliminary submission was made by the Solicitor General have references to the stand taken by Governments earlier that the Kohinoor was a gift and cannot be categorized as an object stolen. The material further has references to the views of India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru expressed in 1956. Nehru had gone on record saying that there is no ground to claim this art treasure. He also added that efforts to get the Kohinoor back would lead to difficulties.
The Government of India statement goes on to add that Nehru also said, “To exploit our good relations with some country to obtain free gifts from it of valuable articles does not seem to be desirable. On the other hand, it does seem to be desirable that foreign museums should have Indian objects of art.”
The statement further reads:
“It may be added that ever since he has taken over as PM, Narendra Modi’s efforts led to three significant pieces of India’s history coming back home. In October 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel returned a 10th century Indian statue of Goddess Durga that was stolen in 1990 and found in 2012 at a museum in Germany. In April 2015, then Canadian PM Stephen Harper returned a sculpture known as the ‘Parrot Lady’, which dates back to almost 900 years. Then Australian PM Tony Abbott, on his India visit in 2014 had returned antique statues of Hindu deities that were in Australian art galleries. None of these gestures affected India’s relations with either Canada, Germany or Australia. It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who as the Chief Minister got back the ashes of Shyamji Krishna Varma almost 70 years after his death.
Thus, with regard to the Kohinoor Diamond too, Government of India remains hopeful for an amicable outcome whereby India gets back a valued piece of art with strong roots in our nation’s history.”