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India says British Queen should keep its Koh-i-Noor

Koh-i-Noor was neither stolen nor forcibly taken away, government tells SC

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Britain's Queen Elizabeth's crown is carried through the Norman Porch of the Palace of Westminster after the State Opening of Parliament on June 4, 2014 in London, England. REUTERS/POOL/Oli Scarff
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NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India should relinquish its claim to a huge diamond that it has fought for decades to get back from the British, the government told the Supreme Court on Monday, because the stone was given to its former colonial ruler rather than stolen.

One of the world’s largest diamonds, the 105-carat Koh-i-Noor has been part of the British crown jewels for 150 years and today forms part of Queen Elizabeth II’s crown.

The stone has been at the center of a long-running diplomatic row, with many Indians demanding Britain return the diamond to atone for its colonial past.

But Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government on Monday told India’s Supreme Court that it should forgo its claims to the jewel because it was in fact given to the British as a gift by an Indian King, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, in 1851.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth's crown is carried through the Norman Porch of the Palace of Westminster after the State Opening of Parliament on June 4, 2014 in London, England. REUTERS/POOL/Oli Scarff
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth’s crown is carried through the Norman Porch of the Palace of Westminster after the State Opening of Parliament on June 4, 2014 in London, England. REUTERS/POOL/Oli Scarff

“It was neither stolen nor forcibly taken away,” solicitor general Ranjit Kumar told the Supreme Court during the hearing of a case calling for the stone’s return.

The Koh-i-Noor, on display in the Tower of London, is set in the crown worn by the current Queen Elizabeth during her coronation in 1953.

The Duchess of Cambridge, who last week visited India with her husband, Prince William, will wear the crown on official occasions when she becomes queen consort. William is second in line to the British throne.

During a visit to India in 2010, British Prime Minister David Cameron said that the diamond would stay in London.

“What tends to happen with these questions is that if you say yes to one, then you would suddenly find the British Museum empty,” he said.

Indian campaigners believe the diamond is one of many artefacts taken from India by the British during colonial rule.

“The British rulers looted India and the government is making a mistake by not supporting our claims,” said Nafis Ahmad Siddiqui, who petitioned the Supreme Court for the stone’s return.

(Reporting by Suchitra Mohanty, Rupam Jain, Writing by Rupam Jain, Editing by Tommy Wilkes and Nick Macfie)

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  • Allan Joseph Raju

    If a famous actor feels he should settle outside the country then it is anti national. But if the Gov’t. Makes a mockery of the Indian public, misrepresents the true facts, and claims that the Kohinoor taken as a “prize won in war” by the britishers was a gift…. Then that’s patriotic. Its just a matter of time before we give off Arunachal Pradesh also as a gift to China.

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  • Allan Joseph Raju

    If a famous actor feels he should settle outside the country then it is anti national. But if the Gov’t. Makes a mockery of the Indian public, misrepresents the true facts, and claims that the Kohinoor taken as a “prize won in war” by the britishers was a gift…. Then that’s patriotic. Its just a matter of time before we give off Arunachal Pradesh also as a gift to China.

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India Continues Engaging With USA Over H-1B Passport Issue

India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

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As Trump proposes changes in H1-B visa, India continues to engage with US

India is continuing to engage with the US over the H-1B visa, largely availed of by Indian IT companies, after the Trump administration proposed changes to the programme, a senior official said on Thursday.

“It is a very important topic for us and that is the reason why we have time and again at various levels, we have taken up this matter with the US side,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to queries by journalists here.

Kumar said that most recently, the issue was raised during the first ever India-US 2+2 Ministerial Meeting held here last month that was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

On Wednesday, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to come out with its new proposal by January 2019.

India n Passport
It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages Flickr

The DHS said it was also proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation.

The move to end the rule could have an impact on more than 70,000 H-4 visa holders, who have work permits.

The H-4 visas are issued by the USCIS to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the holders of H-1B visa.

The DHS said it will propose to revise the definition of speciality occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B programme.

It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages, the DHS said.

Donald Trump, India
President Donald Trump speaks about immigration alongside family members affected by crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, at the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex, June 22, 2018, in Washington, VOA

In his remarks on Thursday, Kumar said that India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

Stating that there are certain bills which have been introduced, he, however, said that “it is important to note that none of these bills have been passed so far”.

“When we have engaged with the US, we have emphasised that our partnership which we have in the digital sphere have been mutually beneficial,” the spokesperson said.

Also Read: USA And Other Countries Pledge To Eradicate Illegal Wildlife Trade

“We have highlighted the role which has been played by the highly skilled Indian professionals who have actually contributed to the growth and development of the US economy,” he stated.

“And also they have helped the US to maintain a competitive edge in the world towards innovation and science and technology.” (IANS)