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Battle for Kohinoor just got messier: Petition claims 'diamond' belongs to Pakistan and not India

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 3 December 2015, 19:54 IST

A petition has been filed in a Pakistani court asking the government to bring back Kohinoor diamond, the world famous precious stone which India has been trying to get from the UK.

Barrister Javed Iqbal Jaffry alleged in his petition to the Lahore High Court that the UK snatched the diamond from Daleep Singh, grandson of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, and took it to Britain.

"The diamond became part of the crown of incumbent Queen Elizabeth-II at the time of her crowing in 1953. Queen Elizabeth has no right on the Kohinoor diamond, which weighs 105 carats and worth billions of rupees," he said.

"Kohinoor diamond was cultural heritage of Punjab province and its citizens owned it in fact," Jaffry said.

He asked the court to direct federal government to bring the diamond to Pakistan from the British government.

The Kohinoor was mined in medieval times in the Kollur mine in Andhra Pradesh's Guntur district. At one time it was considered the largest diamond in the world.

Kohinoor diamond_GraphicaArtis/Getty Images

AFP

The diamond was originally owned by the Kakatiya Dynasty, which had installed it in a temple of a Hindu goddess as her eye.

Reportedly, in 1849, after the conquest of the Punjab by the British forces, the properties of the Sikh Empire were confiscated.

The Kohinoor was transferred to the treasury of the British East India Company in Lahore. The properties of the Sikh Empire were taken as war compensations.

Read: India demands Kohinoor. But this British historian doesn't think we deserve it

Watch this video that explains Kohinoor's origins:

It passed through the hands of various invaders and was finally appropriated by the British during the Raj.

Today the diamond is a part of the Crown of Queen Elizabeth II.

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India wants the jewel back:

India has been long demanding the return of Kohinoor which was owned by several Mughal emperors and Maharajas before being seized by the British.

India says that Kohinoor was illegally acquired and wants it returned along with other treasures looted during colonial rule.

When Queen Elizabeth II made a state visit to India marking the 50th anniversary of independence in 1997, many Indians in India and Britain demanded the return of the diamond.

British Indian MP Keith Vaz had called for the return of 'Kohinoor' diamond to India ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the UK in November.

Watch how Shashi Tharoor makes a strong case on why Britain owes repatriations to India:

Indian group files petition for Kohinoor:

According to news reports, a group calling itself the 'Mountain of Light' comprising of Bollywood stars and businessmen has instructed lawyers to begin legal proceedings in London's High Court to return the Koh-i-Noor diamond to India. They are demanding that the UK Government return it.

Bollywood star Bhumicka Singh from the group was quoted: "The Koh-i-noor is not just a 105-carat stone, but part of our history and culture and should undoubtedly be returned."

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First published: 3 December 2015, 19:54 IST
 
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