No plans to bring back Kohinoor: Govt

Govt has said it does not plan to bring Kohinoor back to the country from Britain.

New Delhi: Demands from several quarters
for the return of Kohinoor from Britain notwithstanding,
the government today said it has no plans to bring the
precious diamond back to the country.

It also said it was not contemplating to bring the
Peacock Throne from Iran as these items are not covered under
the UNESCO convention that deals with restitution of cultural
property.

The 105-carat gemstone, which was mined in Andhra
Pradesh and is set in the coronation crown of the British
royals, is now kept at the Tower of London, a historic castle
on the north bank of the River Thames in the British capital.

Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of
State for Planning V Narayanasamy said the government was not
contemplating to bring back the Kohinoor diamond and the
Peacock Throne.

"These items are not covered even under the UNESCO
Convention, 1972 dealing with the restitution of cultural
property," Narayanasamy, who also holds ad-hoc charge of
Culture Minister, said.

The comments assume significance in the wake of
British Prime Minister David Cameron ruling out returning the
precious diamond during his recent India visit.
"If you say yes to one you suddenly find the British
Museum would be empty. I think I`m afraid to say, to
disappoint all your viewers, it`s going to have to stay put,"
Cameron had said last month.

The diamond, which belonged to various Hindu, Mughal
and British rulers, was finally seized by the East India
Company and became part of the British Crown Jewels when Queen
Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India in 1877.

Various cultural organisations have demanding that
India ask Britain to return the diamond to it, but the Indian
government has maintained silence on the issue.

The issue of Kohinoor`s return to India gained
prominence after the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)
joined an international network for the return of priceless
artifacts taken away during British rule.

In June, ASI Director-General Gautam Sengupta had said
that the list of India`s treasures held abroad was "too long
to handle" and there was a need for a "diplomatic and legal
campaign" for their restitution from institutions, including
the British Museum, the Royal Collection and the Birmingham
Museum and Art Gallery.

However, British Museums have been maintaining that
they were satisfied that the items were acquired legitimately.
The Peacock Throne was ornamented with a gold peacock
whose outspread tail was made of precious gems and whose body
was studded with stones.

PTI

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