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Friday, June 11, 2010

India demands Koh-i-Noor diamond

The Indian government has demanded Britain to return the Koh-i-Noor diamond which was wringed from the Indian hands by British forces in the 19th century.

The East India Company forces in India made the Maharaja of Punjab give the diamond away as a tribute to Queen Victoria in 1849 following the Treaty of Lahore.

India says the British seized the diamond -- owned by Nader Shah (King of Iran, 1688-1747) and his descendents before finding its way into India -- illegally and wants it back along with other treasures looted during colonial rule.

India's efforts are in line with an international campaign backed by the United Nations for the return of historic treasures to several countries, including Mexico, Greece, Turkey and Egypt.

That said, the British High Commission in New Delhi has called the removal of the gemstone legitimate and its ownership "non-negotiable."

Dr Gautam Sengupta, head of the Architectural Survey of India, who is in charge of protecting the country's antiquities, said if the country required the European museums to return its looted treasures, many of the museums would have to pull down their shutters."

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