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Kohinoor Diamond Was Surrendered to British, Not Gifted: Report

The government of India had told the Supreme Court in 2016 that Kohinoor was "neither stolen nor forcible taken" by the British, but rather was offered to the East India Company as a present by the then rulers of Punjab.

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Updated:October 16, 2018, 12:13 PM IST
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Kohinoor Diamond Was Surrendered to British, Not Gifted: Report
File photo of Kohinoor diamond (Picture courtesy: Getty Images)
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New Delhi: Kohinoor, the fabled Indian diamond, was 'surrendered' by the then Maharaja of Lahore to Queen Victoria and not gifted, according to a RTI response.

The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has made a new revelation in the RTI reply.

The government of India had told the Supreme Court in 2016 that Kohinoor was "neither stolen nor forcible taken" by the British, but rather was offered to the East India Company as a present by the then rulers of Punjab.

According to the Times of India report, the RTI, filed by activist Rohit Sabharwal, questioned the basis of the transfer of Kohinoor to the United Kingdom. Clueless of whom to address the RTI, the petitioner forwarded it to the Prime Minister's office (PMO), which was then sent to the ASI for a credible response.

“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 ASI reply read.

Further, quoting excerpts of the said treaty, the ASI wrote, "The gem called Kohinoor which was taken from the Shah-Suja-Ul-Mulk by Maharaja Ranjeet Singh shall be surrendered by the Maharaja of Lahore to the Queen of England.”

The report also said that the diamond was 'taken away by the British' when Duleep Singh was just a minor.

Thus, according to the ASI response, the treaty clearly indicates that the Kohinoor, which is one of the largest cut diamonds in the world, was not handed over to the British on the wishes of Duleep Singh. Besides, Singh was barely nine-years-old when the treaty was signed.

Therefore, the latest reply by the ASI now contradicts government's statement made two years ago.

The Kohinoor diamond eventually ended up in the British Crown Jewels by the mid-1800s. It is significant to mention here that India and Pakistan, both, are trying to retrieve the diamond back from the UK government, despite the latter refusing to give in to the requests several times.
| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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