Given the furore any time someone from the English royal family is visiting, you’d think getting back the Kohinoor diamond from England is a pursuit the Indian government is very keen on. Turns out it isn’t. The Indian government on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it wasn’t planning on getting back the diamond, since it was never stolen in the first place.
During a hearing over a petition by All India Human Rights & Social Justice Front, which wants the Kohinoor brought back to India, the government told the apex court that there should not be a bid to reclaim the jewel.
The government said that the diamond was neither stolen nor taken forcibly, but was handed over to the East India Company by Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab, The Times Of India reported.
The Supreme Court also warned the government that, “it will face a problem in the future for making any legitimate claim”, and asked the centre for a comprehensive response in six weeks time, according to an NDTV report.
The Koh-I-Noor means ‘Mountain of Light’ and was presented to Queen Victoria in 1850, since when it has been part of the crown jewels. It was in the possession of the Raja of Malwa till 1304, and then belonged to Emperor of Delhi, Alauddin Khilji.
It changed hands between the Mughals, Ahmad Shah Durrani and came to Ranjit Singh in 1813, before it was transferred to the British East India Company’s treasury when they conquered Punjab in 1849.
In 2013, the British administration rejected the demand for return of the Kohinoor, and the PM of UK, David Cameron said that he does not believe in “returnism”.
However, on Twitter the government faced immediate backlash over its statement:
modi govt run by buffoons: Kohinoor gifted by Ranjit Singh to brits? he died in 1839, brits snatched diamond in 1849!— Hartosh Singh Bal (@HartoshSinghBal) April 18, 2016
Kohinoor was not stolen from India. It was merely abducted.Shine On You Crazy Diamond.— Madhavan Narayanan (@madversity) April 18, 2016
Okay Britain, let’s do a deal.You give us back on thing we gave you – Kohinoor.We’ll give you back one thing you gave us – Section 377.— Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats) April 18, 2016