April 29, 2016 5:27:40 am
Making a forceful plea for bringing back the Kohinoor diamond from Britain, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Bhartruhari Mahtab on Wednesday told Lok Sabha that Maharaja Ranjit Singh wished to donate the diamond to the Jagannath temple in Puri.
Last week, the Union government had told Supreme Court that the Kohinoor diamond was neither “forcibly taken nor stolen” by British rulers, but given as a “gift” to East India Company by the rulers of Punjab.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Mahtab, who represents Puri constituency where Jagannath temple is located, said: “By no stretch of imagination can it be interpreted that the gifting of the diamond by the young Daleep Singh (son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh), who was hardly eight years old, to the Queen of England was an act of cheerful volition… It was a surrender under duress.”
According to him, a letter written on July 2, 1839 by the political agent stationed at Lahore to the then Governor-General Lord Dalhousie, stated that Maharaja Ranjit Singh just before his death wished to gift the diamond to Jagannath temple at Puri .
“What courage did this (NDA) government display to take a stand in the Supreme Court on the Kohinoor?”, Mahtab asked, observing: “The true courage would lie not in stating the technical position, but accepting the fact that the diamond was taken away by force”.
“I would request the government to take a position not only in our Supreme Court, but also impress upon the United Kingdom government that this precious stone should be returned to us,” he added.
According to the MP, Hindus believe that the “diamond was Samantakmani, which was retrieved by Lord Krishna”. “The stone got to be known as Kohinoor in the 14th century after Alauddin Khilji captured it from the Kakatiyas. It stayed with the Mughals for the longest period… We believe, as the story goes, this diamond can only be borne by the God or God Head or by women… If this is the case, then Lord Jagannath is the rightful owner… This was also the wish of Maharaja Ranjit Singh”.
Several members in the House endorsed Mahtab’s views. These included Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Pushpendra Singh Chandel, Bhairon Prasad Mishra, Rajendra Agrawal, Rabindra Kumar Jena, Sharad Tripathi, Satya Pal Singh, A Sampath, Prasanna Kumar Patasani and Ravindra Kumar Pandey.
Meanwhile, Akali Dal member Prem Singh Chandumajra condemned the position taken by the Union government in the Supreme Court and suggested that the House pass a unanimous resolution for bringing the diamond back to India.
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