Prime Minister Narendra Modi will fulfil a key promise when he places 100 classified files related to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in public domain on Saturday, on the legendary freedom fighter’s birth anniversary.
All declassified documents will be released to the public on a special website created for the purpose from the second half of the day.
A culture ministry official said the government will be releasing 25 documents each month on the website until it exhausts all files considered for declassification.
On December 4 last year, the Prime Minister’s Office released 33 files on Bose to the National Archives of India (NAI), assuring that the remaining 15 files in its possession will also be cleared for declassification and handed to NAI for public availability on January 23.
“As a first step, the National Archives of India is placing 100 files relating to Netaji in public domain after preliminary conservation treatment and digitization,” the Culture Ministry said in a statement.
“ON Netaji’s birth anniversary (Saturday), the Prime Minister will release the digital copies of these files in public domain,” it said, adding that the declassification will meet the long standing demand to access them and help scholars research more about the freedom fighter.
“The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, in his meeting with a delegation of members of Netaji’s family at his residence in New Delhi on October 14 2015 had announced that the Government of India would declassify the files relating to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and make them accessible to public,” the Ministry recalled.
After the PMO’s declassification of 33 files, the Home and External Affairs ministries also began the process to declassify files in their possession.
“These and a few more files from the PMO were later transferred to NAI,” a Culture Ministry official said. “After placing 100 declassified files in public domain on Saturday, NAI will keep releasing digital copies of 25 declassified files each month.”
NAI received about 990 declassified files relating to the Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fauj) from the Ministry of Defence. In 2012, it acquired 1,030 files/items relating to the Khosla Commission (271 files/ items)and Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry (750 files/items) from Ministry of Home Affairs.
“All the files/ items are already open to the public under the Public Records Rules, the official said.