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India Wants to Recover Crown Jewel from Britain


FILE - 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.

FILE - 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.

The Indian government has launched an effort to recover a priceless diamond from Britain.

The Koh-i-Noor diamond was given to Britain’s Queen Victoria as a present in 1850, when India was a British colony. The diamond is now kept as part of the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London.

Ownership of the Koh-i-Noor was the subject of a hearing this week in India’s highest court.

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told the Supreme Court Monday that the diamond belonged to Great Britain. “It was given to the British as compensation for help in the Sikh Wars,” he said. “The Koh-i-Noor is not a stolen object.”

His comments shocked many Indians.

In a written statement, India’s Ministry of Culture said the government does not agree with Kumar’s position. The statement said the government would like to bring back the diamond in what it called “an amicable manner.”

Media reports say India, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan have each tried to claim ownership of the Koh-i-noor. In recent years, the four nations have demanded its return from Britain.

The mother of Queen Elizabeth II wore the diamond in her crown prior to her death in 2002.

The name Koh-i-Noor means "Mountain of Light" in Persian. Several media sources reported the diamond to be worth as much as $200 million.

I’m Anna Matteo.

VOANews.com reported on this story. Jim Dresbach adapted the report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

compensation n. payment

amicableadj. showing a polite and friendly desire to avoid disagreement and argument

mannern. a way in which something is done

crownn. an object shaped like a circle that is worn on the head of a king or queen

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