Sukhbir Badal asks SGPC to file caveat in SC on Kohinoor issue

Chandigarh: Punjab's Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal today asked the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to file a caveat in the Supreme Court before a judgement is passed on a PIL demanding the return of Kohinoor diamond to India.

SGPC would represent the Sikh community in the PIL and demand that the diamond, which is now a part of the crown jewels of the Queen of England, be returned to the religious body which manages Sikh shrines. This assertion is being made on the basis that Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the head of a "Khalsa Raj", a press release issued by ruling SAD said here.

In the absence of any such system now, the SGPC is the representative of the community to which the diamond rightfully belongs, the release claimed.

SAD said it is confident that the Centre will rethink its stand on the issue as there was no doubt that Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the absolute owner of the Kohinoor and that it was taken away by the British in a "deceitful manner". It feels this wrong can only be set right by the return of the diamond to the Sikh community, it said.

SGPC had yesterday said that the Kohinoor diamond should be returned to the apex religious body of the Sikhs "as it belonged to Sikh community".

A deputation of SAD leaders will meet External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to make a representation on behalf of the Sikh community to highlight the "wrong version given to the top court earlier", the party said.

It welcomed the fact that the External Affairs Ministry will file a response on the issue in six weeks. The SAD delegation is likely to impress upon Swaraj that Maharaja Dalip Singh, the last Sikh sovereign ruler of Punjab, was robbed of the Kohinoor.

SAD said it will present the facts of the case to the minister detailing how the Maharaja was forced to present the Kohinoor to Queen Victoria and he had no choice in the matter. It, therefore, cannot be regarded as a compensation or a gift, the party said.

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