Govt to declassify Netaji files from Jan 23

Govt to declassify Netaji files from Jan 23

The seven-decade-old mystery surrounding the disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose may move closer to getting resolved with Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing declassification of files lying with the Centre.

“There is no need to strangle history. Nations that forget their history lack the power to create it.

“The process of declassification of files relating to Netaji will begin on January 23, Subhas Babu’s birth anniversary,” Modi tweeted after an hour-long meeting with 35 members of the Bose family at his residence here on Wednesday.

The Home Ministry is understood to have been working on the first set of files that would be declassified on January 23, months ahead of the Assembly election in West Bengal where a large section of the population consider Bose as a hero who did not get his due from successive Congress governments.

Modi said his government would also request foreign governments to declassify files on Netaji available with them and the process would begin with Russia in December.

The prime minister is slated to visit Moscow in December where this issue is likely to come up in the summit meeting between Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Centre’s decision to declassify files on Bose comes within a few weeks of the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal releasing 64 files on Netaji, one of the main architects of India’s freedom movement. The files were earlier examined by a commission, headed by Justice Manoj Mukherjee (rtd), which concluded that Bose did not die in a plane crash in Taihoku (Taipei) on August 18, 1945.

However, a large number of secret files lying with the Central government and archives in the UK, Russia and Japan were out of bounds not only for the Mukherjee Commission (1999-2005) but also for Shah Nawaz Committee (appointed by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1956) and Khosla Commission in 1970, which, too, probed the mystery surrounding his death.

“There is no satisfactory evidence of the plane crash, on the contrary, the story given out is rather improbable. The oral account of the witness of Netaji’s death and cremation cannot be relied upon to arrive at a definitive finding,” Mukherjee commission has stated.
There are several unverified theories on what happened to Bose and little is known about the treasure of the Indian National Army that he commanded. The Mukherjee Commission could not find any evidence supporting two old sensational claims that an ascetic in Faizabad (Bhagwanji) in Uttar Pradesh or another person living in Shaulmari Ashram in North Bengal is Bose in a new avatar.

One of the probable reasons for successive governments hesitating to release the files is the adverse impact it can have on relations with Russia.

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