Kohinoor Was "Surrendered" To The British; ASI Contradicts Modi Government In RTI Reply
In a new revelation about the world-renowned Kohinoor diamond, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) revealed that the diamond was not gifted but ‘surrendered’ by the Maharaja of Lahore to Queen Victoria. According to The Times Of India, the ASI revealed the information as an answer to a Right To Information (RTI) query.
What did the RTI reveal?
Reportedly, activist Rohit Sabharwal had filed the RTI query where he was seeking information about the grounds on which the diamond was handed over to the UK. He told the daily that he had sent the query to the Prime Minister’s Office who then forwarded it to the ASI. The ASI replied saying, “As per the records, the Lahore Treaty held between Lord Dalhousie and Maharaja Duleep Singh in 1849, the Kohinoor diamond was surrendered by the Maharaja of Lahore to the Queen of England.”
The reply also gave excerpts from the treaty which read that the diamond, which was taken from the Shah-Suja-Ul-Mulk by Maharaja Ranjeet Singh was surrendered by the Maharaja of Lahore to the Queen of England. The treaty also reveals that the diamond was not handed over to the imperial forces on the wishes of Duleep Singh, who was only nine years old at the time of the treaty.
Contradictory to the government’s statement in 2016
This reply is contradictory to the one which the government gave to the Supreme Court in 2016. Reportedly, the government had said that the diamond was neither stolen or forcibly taken away by the British and said that it was gifted to the East India Company by the successors of Maharaja Ranjit Singh who were ruling Punjab at the time. Moreover, while replying to the Public Interest Litigation (PIL), the Modi-government said that the Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s kin gave the diamond as a “voluntary compensation” to the British to cover the cost of the Anglo-Sikh War. Reportedly, the Ministry of External Affairs was also a party to the PIL that was filed in the case.
The Kohinoor diamond is among one of the largest cut diamonds in the world and is currently a part of the British Crown Jewels. The diamond, for long, has been the subject of a diplomatic controversy between India and the UK, where the former has been demanding for the diamond to be returned.