Britain’s most influential British Asian politician Keith Vaz MP has reiterated calls for Britain to return the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond to India…reports Asian Lite News
Keith Vaz has long campaigned for the jewel to India as atonement for Britain’s colonial past. The 105-Carat diamond – the original is said to have been as large as 190 carats was appropriated by the British in the mid-19th Century and “presented” to Queen Victoria. It is currently part of Queen Elizabeth’s crown.
Mr Vaz’s latest call for the Kohinoor’s echoes similar sentiment of a much-publicized speech by Indian politician and author Dr Shashi Tharoor at Oxford University, during which he called for the UK to pay reparations for what he described as the “plunder” of India by the British.
“I welcome Dr Tharoor’s speech and the endorsement of its message by Prime Minister Modi. I share their views”, Mr Vaz said.
Whilst paying monetary reparations would be “potentially fruitless”, Mr Vaz said there was no excuse for not returning items that belong to India.
“These are genuine grievances which must be addressed.
“Pursuing monetary reparations is complex, time consuming and potentially fruitless, but there is no excuse for not returning precious items such as the Kohinoor diamond, a campaign I have backed for many years”, he added.
Mr Vaz said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to Britain could be the ideal time to put to rest the issue of the Kohinoor.
“Prime Minister Modi is due to arrive in the United Kingdom in November, and Prime Minister Cameron has gone out of his way to maintain a strong bilateral relationship”, Mr Vaz said.
“What a wonderful moment it would be, if when Prime Minister Modi finishes his visit, which is much overdue, he returns to India with the promise of the diamond’s return.”
Mr Cameron during his visit to India in 2010, had said: “If you say yes to one you suddenly find the British Museum would be empty. I think I’m afraid it’s going to have to stay put.”