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Kohinoor saga: From Congress' failure to Modi govt strategies, all you need to know about issue


Amid demands from various quarters to get the Kohinoor diamond back from the British, BJP has said that party will do its best to bring 105-carrot diamond back to India.

Reportedly, BJP is toying with various ideas how it can be done. However, Congress criticised Government for its U-turn on the issue.

All you need to know about Kohinoor saga

Here are all the aspects of the issue.

BJP's U-turn

  • On Monday, Government told Supreme Court that the British East India Company did not take away the Kohinoor.
  • It was gifted to Britain by late Sikh sovereign Maharaja Ranjit Singh's son Maharaja Duleep Singh.
  • Retracting its stand, government on Wednesday announced that Narendra Modi dispensation would make all efforts to bring it back from the UK.
  • "With regard to the Kohinoor, the 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", government said.
  • Party also slammed Congress for never making any efforts to bring Kohinoor back.
  • The Culture ministry released a statement statement on Wednesday which said that our first Prime Minister and Congress most beloved leader Jawaharlal Nehru in 1956 went on record to say that there was no ground to claim the Kohinoor from Britain.
  • Statement further said that Nehru believed that efforts to get the diamond back would lead to many difficulties and it may spoil India's international relations.
  • "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," Nehru was quoted as saying in the statement.

Congress too jumped on Kohinoor bandwagon

  • Party said that it was keen on getting Indian artefacts lying abroad to be brought back to the country.
  • Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala was quoted, "All heritage belongings of India that can be brought back should be brought back".
  • Party also lashed out at BJP for changing its position on the issue. "It reflects the immaturity and inconsistency in the decision-making process and lack of a policy direction both at the level of the prime minister's office and in the government", Congress said.

Pakistan, Afghanistan are also making claim for the invaluble diamond

  • The 108-carat diamond was presented to the then British monarch, Queen Victoria, in 1850 after the Anglo-Sikh wars, in which the Britain gained control over the Sikh empire in the then undivided Punjab.
  • The Kohinoor diamond, kept under tight security at the Tower of London, is claimed by India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran.
  • Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has said that diamond should be handed over to Sikh community as East India Company forcibly took it from Punjab king.

Govt's strategies on the issue

  • Modi Government wants to put all facts of the issue before the country.
  • Centre also plans to inform people of India that previous governments especially Congress never made any serious efforts in this direction.
  • Sources say that PM Modi who is personally taking interest on the issue wants a coherahnt political, diplomatic efforts in this direction.

Ministry doing homeworks to respond in SC

  • As the Supreme Court has given government six weeks time to respond on the issue, the Cultural Ministry is doing proper homeworks regarding the same.
  • It is being said that Government is digging out all possible informations so that it could respond properly in SC .
  • Ministry of Culture is trying to find out how and when the previous governments proceeded on the matter. Modi government is curious to know what was the stand of previous governmnts on the issue.

Govt may raise procedural validity of the Kohinoor's transfer to Britain

  • Sources say that Government may inform court that a minor doesn't have legal right to hand over gift to anyone.
  • Centre may explore transfer of property act of present days and before India got Independence.
  • In the affidavit, Government will say that when the precious diamond was given to British, King Duleep Singh, successor of Ranjit Singh was minor.
  • King can't give diamond to East India company as he was minor at that time and the both Indian and English laws doesn't permit him to do so.

Was Kohinoor taken by force?

  • Some reports say that Maharajah Ranjit Singh handed over diamond as gift to British. But fact of the matter is Ranjit Singh died in 1839 and British acquired the diamond almost a decade later.
  • It is being said that Kohinoor was not given as gift but was forcibly taken by deceitful means. Reportedly, Duleep Singh, was only eight years old at the time.
  • He was pressurised to sign treaty of Bhyroval on December 16, 1846, which gave British right to take both his kingdom and precious diamond.

(With Inputs from agency)

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