Destroyed MHA files identified during UPA regime:Rajnath Singh

Destroyed MHA files identified during UPA regime:Rajnath Singh

Destroyed MHA files identified during UPA regime:Rajnath Singh

Government today sought to put the onus on the previous UPA regime for the controversy over destroying of 11,100 Home Ministry files saying the process of identifying them was done by it between August 2012 and May 2013, when the Congress-led coalition was in power.

Amid controversy over destruction of files relating to Home Ministry, the Government assured the Rajya Sabha that it will not allow tampering or destruction of any link with the country's glorious history and allayed fears of members that BJP-led NDA government was trying to destroy continuity of India's history.

Replying to queries raised by members on the Minister's statement made on July 11 on alleged destruction of 1.5 lakh files in his Ministry, Home Minister Rajnath Singh assured the House that no file relating to Mahatma Gandhi, former President Rajendra Prasad, former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri or the last Indian Viceroy Lord Mountbatten has been destroyed.

Singh said this is not the first time that files have been destroyed in the Ministry and the same has been done as per the mandate of manual of office procedure.

Denying that less than a minute was taken by the government in destroying the 11,100 files, Singh said the assessment of files to be destroyed was carried out in continuity between August 9, 2012 and May 2, 2013 - when UPA was in power - and 500 persons were deployed for this task.

"This is not the first time that files have been destroyed in the Home Ministry. Files have been destroyed during UPA regime also. Files have been categorised as per the mandate of the manual of office procedure. It is a continuous process," Singh informed the House.

On allegations by the opposition that the NDA regime was attempting to rewrite history and files have been destroyed as part of a conspiracy, he said, "No file relating to country's freedom struggle has been destroyed. We have no agenda to change the history of the country."

The Home Minister said, "I want to assure everyone that destruction of any link to the continuity of India's history will not be allowed to be made at any cost...No one will be allowed to tinker with any link in continuity of India's history."  Assuring the House that their government is not a "closed book", Singh said, "Our government is an open book. We want to make government functioning fully transparent.

Our government's functioning is fully transparent. I can provide any information on this even in writing," he said.

Members from Congress and Left quoting media reports tried to pin down the government on the issue and alleged that on simple calculation the government took less than a minute to destroy a file in the Ministry.

There were acrimonious exchanges between the opposition and treasury benches when Singh said their party was the only non-Congress party that has got a clear mandate by the people of the country and members should not question its intentions.

Members of Congress and Left parties said the matter was serious as government has no right to destroy files pertaining to previous years and sought to know if it was done part of a 'conspiracy' to rewrite the country's history.

During the course of the debate, the House witnessed some lighter moments when Rajeev Shukla (Congress) said monkeys, who are a menace in North Block and South Block 'walk away' with files strewn all over the Ministry's corridors.

Singh told the House that members should not doubt the intentions of their government on destroying of files as it has been done after following procedures already in place.

"The total number of assessed files is 1,17,102 and those to be destroyed are 44,177, those archived are 27,879 and as many as 45,646 files are lying in our sections.

 Important files after 25 years are sent to the National Archives and files are destroyed on the basis of the Manual. I assure (members) that information on each file will be provided to the House," he said.

Singh said as per the laid traditions, any file on policy related issues, sensitive court cases, important committee files relating to policy changes and those which inspire the nation are kept safely, besides files that are 25 years old.

The Minister also informed the House that no file relating to Mahatma Gandhi's assassination was destroyed and nor was any relating to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose or Kashmir.

He lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for asking the government to scan all files and digitise them.  

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