Published On : Wed, Apr 20th, 2016

Will do everything to get it back: Govt’s U-turn on Kohinoor

New Delhi: 24 hours after it 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 done a U-turn over the issue.

Government sources have told India Today that they will do whatever they can to bring the Kohinoor back to the country . A senior government functionary said that the government has resolved to make all possible efforts to bring back the legendary gem in an amicable manner.

The official also said that the government wishes to put on record that certain news items appearing in the media regarding the Kohinoor diamond are not based on facts.

The factual position is that the matter is sub-judice at present. A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court that is yet to be admitted, the official said.

The Supreme court had asked the Solicitor General to seek the views of the government over the issue. The Solicitor General informed the top court about the history of the diamond and gave an oral statement on the basis of the existing references made available by the ASI. Thus, it should be reaffirmed that the government 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 dating back to 1956.

Pandit Nehru went on record saying that there is no ground to claim the treasured gem back. He also added that efforts to get the Kohinoor back would lead to difficulties.

Pandit Nehru also said, “To exploit our good relations with some country to obtain free gifts 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.”
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.

Narendra Modi, who as the chief minister of Gujarat then, got back the ashes of Shyamji Krishna Varma almost 70 years after his death in 2003.