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
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