In Rethink, Govt Promises All Steps to Bring Back Kohinoor
Change in position after PM Modi entered the picture SG recounted history of the famous diamond based on previous govt positions, says govt
New Delhi: Amid heavy criticism of its stand on the Kohinoor diamond in the apex court, the Modi government changed track late Tuesday evening to emphasise instead on “its resolve to make all possible efforts to bring back the Kohinoor Diamond in an amicable manner”.
In a statement issued on Tuesday evening by the Culture ministry, it is said that “with re g ard 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”.
Highly reliable sources told ET that the change in government position has come with Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi stepping into the picture on Tuesday after which marathon meetings were held today between officials from the Ministry of External Affairs, Culture Ministry and the Archeological Survey of India. It is also gathered that efforts will now be made to prepare a draft action plan examining all possibilities of bringing back the famed diamond back to India from the UK museum.
Oneof thetheoriesunderdiscussion currentlyisthatsinceMaharajaDalip Singh was a minor at the time when the Kohinoor was arguably gifted to the East India Company, it cannot be considered as a gift but as theft-- as per the prevalent laws.
It is expected that the Modi government will take up the issue strongly and generate political heat on the issue with BJP expected to raise questions about the failure of the Congress and particularly the first PM Jawahar Lal Nehru to make any effort in this direction. Taking on Nehru, the Culture ministry today fired the first salvo indicating that the SG’s statement on the Kohinoor being a gift has beenderivedfromNehru’sstatements and indicating that Nehru was complicit in allowing Indian antiquities to remain on foreign shores.
“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.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 Culture ministry’s clarification said.
Pitting Nehru’s stand on the subject against PM Modi’s, the Culture ministry has further listed out the efforts made by the latter to get ‘three significant pieces of India’s history back home’ and pointedly mentioned that ‘noneof thesegesturesaffectedIndia’s relations with either Canada, GermanyorAustralia’contrarytothe position taken by Nehru.
Claiming SG’s submission in SC was in the nature of an ‘ oral statement’ recounting the history of the famous diamond based on previous government positions, the Culture ministry today issued a statement saying that the “Government of India has not yet conveyed its views to the court, contrary to what is being misrepresented”.
The ministry has listed out antiquities retrieved in the Modi regime:
In October 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel returned a 10th centuryIndianstatueof GoddessDurgathat 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 ‘Parrot Lady’, which dates back to 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.