First set of declassified Netaji files released

First set of declassified Netaji files released

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday released the first set of 100 government files on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, marking a first step towards meeting a “long-standing public demand” for access to classified official documents.

Many believe the documents could help resolve the mystery surrounding his “death” in a plane crash in 1945.

In keeping with the promise made to members of Bose’s family by the prime minister on October 14, the government started declassifying the files on the  birth anniversary of one of the icons of the nation’s struggle for independence.

“Today we began our efforts to declassify the Netaji files and place the truth in front of our citizens,” Modi tweeted, after releasing the documents at an event in the National Archive of India here.

The prime minister also interacted with some of Bose’s family members who were present at the event.

“This is the first time that a prime minister of India has made a move to open the classified files,” said Netaji’s grandnephew Surya Kumar Bose.
Bose led the Indian National Army in the 1940s and allied with Japan to wage a war against the British government to end its colonial rule over India. On August 18, 1945, a few days after Japan announced that it was surrendering to the Allies, Bose was reported to have died in an air crash in Taipei.

His death, however, remained a mystery as many members of his family, several of his admirers and quite a few researchers had doubts over the veracity of the reports about the plane crash.

The previous governments turned down pleas for releasing the classified files.Modi, however, invited 35 members of Bose’s family to his 7, Race Course Road residence here in October and told them that he saw “no reason to strangle history”.

The 100 files released by the government included 36 from the Prime Minister’s Office, 18 from the Ministry of Home Affairs and 46 from the Ministry of External Affairs, covering the period from 1956 to 2013. The files comprise over 16,600 pages of official documents.

Bose’s family thanked the prime minister for taking the initiative and expressed satisfaction that the files, which remained classified for nearly 70 years, are now in the public domain. Surya noted that the family did not expect the mystery over Bose’s death to end automatically with the declassification of the files.

“It is a monumental task to go through thousands of files. A high-level investigative team is required to be constituted,” he said, adding that the governments of other countries should also take part in the probe.

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