A VOLUNTARY organisation, backed by Trinamool Congress MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, has filed a PIL in the Supreme Court demanding that the Union government should take appropriate steps to bring the Kohinoor diamond back to India.
Roy, who is the patron of the outfit, said he has attached documents with the petition that contradict the Centre’s claims that Maharaja Duleep Singh had gifted the diamond to the Queen of England.
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“We have read reports in the media that the law officer of Government of India submitted before the Supreme Court that it (Kohinoor diamond) was a gift to the Queen of England by Maharaja Duleep Singh, and which is why it was not possible to get it back. But we have collected copies of the two treaties — one from 1846 and another from 1849. The latter is more vital because at that time Duleep Singh was a minor, only an 11-year-old Maharaja. The article 3 (of the treaty) states that “the Maharaja shall surrender the Kohinoor diamond to the Queen of England”. The treaty also says “the entire estate of the Maharaja is confiscated”. Surrender and confiscation can never be termed as a gift. We shall bring all these facts before the Supreme Court so that conscionable justice is rendered in the matter,” Roy told The Indian Express.
The Rajya Sabha member said that a letter written by Duleep Singh to the editor of Times, London, on August 28, 1882, seeking ‘justice’ from the UK government and narrating how Lord Dalhousie annexed Punjab and sold almost all his personal belongings, including his jewels and dresses, has been attached with the petition.
“…Finding only a helpless child to deal with, the temptation being too strong, Lord Dalhousie annexed Punjab and instead of carrying out the solemn compact entered into by the British government at Bhyrowal, he sold almost all my personal as well as my private property, consisting of jewels, gold and silver plate even some of my wearing apparel and household furniture, and distributed the proceeds amounting to 250,000 (sterling) pounds as prize money among those very troops who had come to put down the rebellion against my authority,” Singh wrote in the letter that was published in the newspaper on August 31, 1882.
The apex court will hear the PIL after the summer vacation.