In view of heavy criticism after the Centre told the Supreme Court that the Kohinoor diamond cannot be brought back to India from UK as it was “gifted” to the British queen, the Modi government has apparently changed tracks over the issue.
Reports suggest that the government will do whatever they can to bring the Kohinoor back to the country.
In a statement by the Culture ministry, it is said that “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 India”.
Reports also suggest that it may be due to intervention of PM Modi.
A draft action plan to look into all possibilities of bringing back the famed diamond back to India from the UK museum is also being prepared.
In a statement issued, the Centre said, “The Government of India wishes to put on record that certain news items appearing in the press regarding the Kohinoor diamond are not based on facts.”
“The SG was asked to seek the views of the Government of India, which have not yet been conveyed. The SG informed the Honourable Court about the history of the diamond and gave an oral statement on the basis of the existing references made available by the ASI,” it said. “The factual position is that the matter is sub judice at present. A PIL has been filed in the Honourable Supreme Court that is yet to be admitted.”
On April 18, solicitor general Ranjit Kumar told the Supreme Court that the Kohinoor, one of the most storied diamonds in the world, could not be brought back as it was not stolen. In turn the Centre clarified that the law officer’s remarks could not be interpreted as the government’s stand.
When the bench asked whether the government was still open to staking a claim on the Kohinoor, Ranjit Kumar had said, “If we claim our treasures like Kohinoor from other countries, every other nation will start claiming their items from us. There will be nothing left in our museums.”
The government also sought to put the onus on Jawaharlal Nehru for its stated position, and said “The material further has references to the views of India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru dating back to 1956. Pandit Nehru went on record saying that there is no ground to claim this art treasure back. He also added that efforts to get the Kohinoor back would lead to difficulties,” the statement said.
“Pandit 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 government said.
According to the government, PM Modi’s efforts led to three significant pieces of India’s history coming back home”. In 2015, Germany returned a 10th Century statue of Goddess Durga that was stolen in 1990, and Canada returned a sculpture known as the Parrot Lady, which dates back almost 900 years. In 2014, Australia returned antique statues of Hindu deities that were in Australian art galleries.