New Delhi: A strong plea to bring back the Kohinoor diamond from Britain was made by a BJD member in Lok Sabha on Wednesday, which got instant support from several members including those from the Akali Dal.
Raising the issue in Zero Hour, Bhartruhari Mahtab dismissed the talk that the diamond was given as a gift to the British and insisted that it was taken by them as forcibly from Duleep Singh, son of noted Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Mahtab said the situation in which the diamond went to the British after the 1849 Ango-Sikh war was vividly described in a letter written by the British political agent stationed in Lahore to Governor General Lord Dalhousie.
Noting that Kohinoor was the prestige of the nation, he said the way it had gone to the Queen of England was an "act of cheating" and a "surrender under duress".
He said the British had committed untold plunder during the colonial rule.
He said the Maharaja wanted to donate the diamond to the Puri temple like he had made gifts to the Golden Temple and Kashi Vishwanath temple.
Making a strong plea, he said the calligraphic material detailing the situation under which the diamond was taken away should be retrieved by the government from archieves.
He claimed that Kohinoor was the 'syamantak mani' associated with Lord Krishna.
Mahtab said India should impress upon the U K to give the diamond back notwithstanding their Prime Minister's statement that the British Museums and treasury would be empty if it returned all its treasures.
In an obvious reference to Vijay Mallya, he recalled that the sword of Tipu Sultan was brought back to the country from the "tainted money of a liquor baron whose passport has recently been revoked."
Prem Singh Chandumajra (SAD) attacked the Culture Ministry for its stand in the Supreme Court and wanted steps to bring it back. He wanted the House to pass a unanimous resolution in this regard.
He said that historians of the era believe that the British, which claim to be champions of human rights, had acquired the diamond from 11-year-old Duleep Singh through a fraud.
Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) remarked that Kohinoor came from the Golconda mines which fall in his constituency.
Meenakshi Lekhi (BJP) said the government has not taken any stand on the issue of return of Kohinoor and whatever has appeared in the media is wrong.