A group of Indian businessmen and actors is preparing to initiate legal proceedings to demand the return of Koh-i-Noor diamond from Queen Elizabeth II to India.
The diamond is a 105-carat stone and is said to have been mined in India more than 800 years ago. It was presented to Queen Victoria during her rule and is now placed at the Tower of London.
The co-founder of Indian leisure group Titos, David de Souza has been supporting legal action and has urged lawyers in Britain to initiate proceedings at a UK high court.
"The Koh-i-Noor is one of the many artifacts taken from India. Colonisation did not only rob our people of wealth, it destroyed the country's psyche itself,” Souza told Sunday Telegraph.
Britain to India: Koh-i-Noor diamond is ours
"It brutalised society, traces of which linger on today in the form of mass poverty, lack of education and a host of other factors," he added.
The move comes at a time when Indian premier Narendra Modi is set to visit the UK this week, during which he will attend a lunch at the Buckingham Palace.
In literal terms, Koh-i-Noor means ‘mountain of light’ and it was once known as the largest cut diamond of the world.
The campaigners will base their case on the core principles of British law, giving an institution the power to return art that can be considered ‘stolen’.
Interestingly, the campaign has gained support from Indian-origin Labour party’s lawmaker Keith Vaz, "What a wonderful moment it would be, if when PM Modi finishes his visit, he returns to India with the promise of the diamond's return."
Earlier, British government downright rejected such requests, with PM David Cameron in 2013 explicitly saying he did not believe in ‘return-ism’.
The article first appeared on NDTV
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