13:33 GMT +314 October 2019
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    The Koh-i-noor, or mountain of light, diamond, set in the Maltese Cross at the front of the crown made for Britain's late Queen Mother Elizabeth, is seen on her coffin, along with her personal standard, a wreath and a note from her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, as it is drawn to London's Westminster Hall in this April 5, 2002 file photo.

    Diamonds Are Not Forever: India Sues British Queen for 'Stolen' Crown Jewel

    © AP Photo / Alastair Grant
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    Bollywood stars and businessmen in India are calling for a diamond, worn by Britain's Queen Mother, first at the coronation of her husband King George VI and then at Queen Elizabeth's coronation, to be returned to India.

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

    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.

    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.

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    Tags:
    British colonialism, colonialism, jewellery, diamond, monarchy, government, royal family, High Court of London, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Victoria, David Cameron, Great Britain, India, United Kingdom
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