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No plans to bring back Kohinoor diamond: Govt

Thursday, August 19, 2010 10:38:24 AM, PTI

India for global campaign to retrieve captured heritage treasures

Indian authorities have announced they will try to recover  ..... Read Full

Kohinoor diamond should be returned to India as a good gesture

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.



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