Indians Sue British Queen to Return "Mountain of Light" Diamond

Indians Sue British Queen to Return
Mon Nov 9, 2015 18:07:47

The group called "Mountain of Light" have instructed British lawyers to begin legal proceedings in London's High Court for the return of the Koh-i-Noor diamond.

Arguing that the Gem is part of the Indian heritage, a group of business persons and actors from the subcontinent are demanding that the UK give the 105-carat diamond back.

"They claim the 105-carat diamond mined in India around 800 years ago was stolen "under dubious circumstances" and are demanding the British government give it back."

The stone is "one of many artefacts taken from India under dubious circumstances," said David de Souza from India's leisure group Titos.

Speaking to London's Sunday Telegraph, de Souza added:

"Colonization did not only rob our people of wealth, it destroyed the country's psyche itself. It brutalized society, traces of which linger on today in the form of mass poverty, lack of education and a host of other factors."

The diamond was given to Queen Victoria by the last ruler of the Sikhs, Duleep Singh, following the British annexe of the Punjab in 1849. The Marquess of Dalhousie, the British governor-general, arranged for it to be presented to the reigning Queen and Duleep Singh traveled to Britain in 1850 with the stone, handing it to Queen Victoria.

Queen Elizabeth (later Queen Mother) wearing the Koh-I-Noor set in her crown on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, after the coronation of King George VI, with daughter Princess Elizabeth, now Queen Elizabeth II. Photo: PA

The diamond is on public display at the Tower of London. According to legend, the stone can only be worn by God or a woman — if a man wears it, he will meet an unfortunate end.

In 2013, British Prime Minister David Cameron defended the UK's right to keep the jewel saying he did not believe in "returnism".

The claim, according to lawyers, will be made under the common law doctrine of "trespass to goods" — and has been rejected by the British government.